The Power of Mercy: Assessing The Third Round of The Presidential Debates


Thanks to Kanye West, mercy is the only word that comes to mind as I watched the final installment of the presidential debate. Unlike the previous two debates that focused on the President’s domestic responsibilities, this was a measure to see who could handle the role of Commander-in-Chief.

It will ultimately reveal the person that will be in charge of our armed forces, who will represent us on the global stage, while upholding the American standard that aims to support and protect democracy beyond our borders. This is no small task. There is no timeout when dealing with international conflict, uprisings, and wars that can spark in a flash. A Commander-in-Chief never has the ability to call out for mercy.

Once on the job, the Commander-in-Chief has to eliminate this notion of mercy from his DNA and his constitution. Any natural thought process that is connected to emotions must be rewired systematically and programmed for sound decisive judgment that is rooted in logic with one objective in mind: protecting American freedom at all costs. This is the oath that is taken as Commander-in-Chief. When those words are recited every four years on a cold day in January perched high on the Capitol steps with one hand on the Bible and the other raised high, it’s the latter gesture that holds most symbolic significance.

It really is a biblical experience, a certain baptism of sorts. In the literal sense, a baptism is a renewal of oneself, shedding of the old sinner while submerged in water and the sounds of bubbles seemingly speak rhythmic chants of grace and mercy. You reemerge to the surface a new being in His likeness. This is the same religious transformation a presidential candidate makes. When he is sworn into office, there is a shedding of carnal existence as an ordinary citizen as the silent prayers of observers whisper grace and mercy upon you. The hand held upright in the air is receiving the gift that is now the title of “the most powerful leader of the free world.” You can have mercy bestowed upon you, just not present in you as Commander-in-Chief.

This is why debates matter. We have the chance to see the candidates’ personal constitution, what makes up the substance of their DNA, and who they are at the core. We witness the moral compass that guides them in their decision for war or peace; the choice of enforced diplomacy or oppressive regimes. Are they clear on nuclear production and understanding economic sanctions? Can they discern friend versus foe; allegiance versus solitude?

If you, as the citizen, can’t decide your stance on these measures, your choice in who you salute can. Even if you, as the citizen, have never heard of: these cities, territories, regions, sects, terms, or leaders, your choice in who you can salute should. As a citizen, you are aware of the dangers in having an empty core that can be filled with only ambition for a taste of that sweet apple. That can only bring damnation to our future seeds, with chants of mercy from the elders. So I will use my discernment to bypass Romney and rush to salute Barack Obama, as my Commander-in-Chief. Merci.

Mike Muse can be reached at [email protected],, and on twitter @iammikemuse.