Union Pub on Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington D.C. (Courtesy photo)

By Jeremy Wright
Special to the AFRO

Here at the Union Pub on Massachusetts Avenue NE, the socially distanced audience became quiet and trained their eyes and attention to a 32- inch projection screen and two 24-inch TV sets. 

The Sen. Kamala Harris vs. Vice President Mike Pence debate was calm and thoughtful, unlike the verbal cage fight last week between President Donald Trump and challenger former vice president Joe Biden. 

After Moderator and USA Today Washington Editor Susan Page introduced the candidates and announced the rules of engagement, her first question about the coronavirus pandemic and what was Biden administration’s plan to subdue it was directed to Harris, the Democratic senator from California. She answered the question gracefully. Once Harris answered and questions volleyed between Pence and Harris, while numerous patrons began to lose interest.

The debate continued, and some people began side conversations and talked about what they thought, based off of the answers provided by the vice-presidential candidates. Personal feelings and opinions were developed and lines were drawn as the audience began to pick sides.

Yet, all in all, there appeared to be no overtly partisan sides. People seemed genuinely interested in the debate, looking to get clarification in order to plan for the future. The debate gave the local and nationally televised audience a clear glimpse into the true character of the vice-presidential candidates.

In Salt Lake City, Utah, Page said that audience members were required to wear masks. 

At Union Pub, the management required mask wearing and social distancing. A reporter was even told that he could not walk up to patrons and interview them. 

So instead, this reporter observed people’s body language and chatter from a distance.

The writer is a student at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication