John Fetterman showed 'courage' and a 'more humane way forward' in Senate debate: editorial

John Fetterman showed 'courage' and a 'more humane way forward' in Senate debate: editorial
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When the debate between Pennsylvania’s two main U.S. Senate candidates — Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Donald Trump-supported GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz — got underway on Tuesday night, October 25, Fetterman was candid about the fact that he was still recovering from the effects of a debilitating stroke he suffered back in May. Fetterman is still struggling with his speech, yet during the debate, he stated his positions on a variety of issues, including abortion.

Countless pundits have described the debate as “painful to watch.” But in a post-debate editorial published on October 26, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board emphasizes that Fetterman should be admired for having the courage to debate Oz despite the effects of his stroke.

The Inquirer’s editorial board writes, “John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, deserves credit — not ridicule — for taking the debate stage Tuesday night, while still recovering from a stroke he suffered in May. During the debate, Fetterman used closed captioning to help comprehend questions. At times, his speech was halting, and he struggled to fully articulate his thoughts. But Fetterman did not lose sight of the issues he is passionate about: fighting for a living wage, improving health care, making abortion legal nationwide, and gun safety, among other topics.”

READ MORE: John Fetterman and the last consequence-free stigma: How Mehmet Oz weaponized ableism

Fetterman, the Inquirer’s editorial board added, “showed courage in taking the debate stage in Harrisburg.”

“Many Americans — whether from lack of experience or lack of understanding — are unaccustomed to or uncomfortable with special accommodations for those with disabilities,” the newspaper’s editorial board explains. “If elected to the U.S. Senate, Fetterman could become a role model in helping the nation better understand that a person’s struggles can also be a source of strength.”

The board continues, “Fetterman expects to gradually improve…. In the meantime, his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, the television doctor from New Jersey, could stand to improve his bedside manner. At one point during the back-and-forth on education, Oz offered this cheap shot: ‘Obviously, I wasn’t clear enough for you to understand this.’ Earlier, Oz’s communications adviser, Rachel Tripp, said if Fetterman ‘had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke.’ These statements are callous attacks more befitting of a playground bully than a candidate for U.S. Senate…. On Tuesday night, however, Fetterman showed that there is a more humane way forward.”

With the election less than two weeks away, it remains to be seen how the October 25 debate will affect the race’s outcome. Fetterman, in some polls earlier this year, enjoyed double-digit leads over Oz — and some GOP strategists were fearing, behind closed doors, that Oz’s campaign was doomed. But recent polls have been showing a much tighter race, with Fetterman only slightly ahead of his Republican opponent.

READ MORE: 'Ableist propaganda': Media condemned for criticizing John Fetterman's use of closed captioning

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