This is a blog I hadn’t planned to write. I didn’t want to get into politics, but now I feel I must. As I write this, the first presidential debate is history and the future debates are as yet unwritten – or unspoken.

As a dedicated fan of President Obama, I – like most of us – was disappointed in his performance in that first debate. Whatever the reason, whether altitude or attitude, he let himself be overridden by Romney’s boisterous, rude and mendacious performance.

As a former actress, I recognized that this was, indeed a “performance”; not something coming from any deep core beliefs. (What beliefs – Today’s? Tomorrow’s?)

Perhaps Romney should be handed an Oscar or Tony. A synthetic one, for synthetic is something he understands. But I am not voting for best actor or debater. I am voting for the presidency of my country. I want a leader who is genuine, and who genuinely cares about the middle class I’m part of – as well as those less fortunate. A leader who counts women and their rights as part of “all the people” he has pledged to serve.

Obama had a poor night. But he’s had impressive years in so many ways – including the health plan I’m deeply grateful for. Someone very close to me has a pre-existing condition. Because of Obama’s determination in the face of shocking hostility from a Congress determined to defeat him, my loved one is now covered. I am a senior and want Medicare protected, not shredded into vouchers. I also want a president with a globally cool hand, not someone who spews militaristic bullet points to get votes.

Against his score of achievements, Obama’s first debate listlessness rates a small percentage.

The night of the debate I went to sleep feeling depressed and afraid. I imagined Obama feeling far more depressed, and beating himself up for “failing.” That’s the behavior I resort to.

But he didn’t waste much energy on that. The next morning he was right back in fighter mode, speaking at a rally with all the passion and strength missing the night before. And later that day in Madison, Wisconsin, he gave a fiery speech that ignited a crowd of 30,000.

As a writer I point a lesson to myself. Being pummeled by fate or foes (can’t resist alliteration) doesn’t have to be a knockout punch. I have never seen a truer example of the saying that what counts is not how many times you’re knocked down, but how many times you get up again. Maybe we should all make that our mantra when the next rejection or poor review threatens to flatten us.