Last night (October 13, 2004) ended the series of four debates. Three between the President and Senator Kerry. One between the Vice President and Senator Edwards.
They were virtually a waste of time and effort, since they were anything but debates.
A debate is as follows: Two or more people with divergent ideas face each other directly, and do their utmost to convince an audience that their specific positions or thoughts are better than the position of their opponent(s).
None of this happened.
What the world saw were four separate controlled interviews, where the campaigners never looked each other in the eye and went at it. What do I care what the moderators in each of these interview sessions had to ask?
I only cared to see how each candidate would have been able to take the direct heat from his opponent. And how he would retaliate. But the stupid rules of these interview sessions forbid any of that from happening.
The media scored three victories out of three “debates” for Kerry. On what basis? Since there was no debate, how could either side declare a “debate” victory for Bush or Kerry, much less the media?
As I’ve written before, I believe that Bush won all three of these exchanges based upon the following criteria.
1) The President was always clear about his policies.
2) The Senator was always negative and never explained any of his many plans.
3) The Senator had to really beat the President. Not by a little bit. But by a lot.
It’s like a boxing Title-Fight. A tie is not good enough for the challenger to win the Title. He has to convincingly beat the champion. And in this Presidential Title-Fight, Kerry never came close.
In a real debate, all of that might have changed. Kerry and the President would have had no choice but to come out swinging for their political lives, instead of standing there posed for the cameras while delivering pat answers to anticipated questions.
You know when a debate has been duly fought, when there’s blood on the floor, and only one of the bruised and battered challengers stands with his tired arms raised over his head.
The number of these so-called debates is also ridiculous.
Why have three Presidential “debates” when one aggressive winner-take-all verbal battle is all that was needed? After-all, don’t the American people want to see a leader who can get it right the first time, while being severely tested under live-fire?
NOW FOR THE UNDECIDED:
As far as I’m concerned, if by now, people are still undecided, they shouldn’t vote. I can not imagine a person who can not make up his or her mind based upon everything that has already been said and written about each of the candidates.
There is nothing left to think about. You are either with the Conservative Bush doctrine, or you’re with the Liberal Kerry philosophy. You either trust Bush to protect America, or you trust Kerry to protect America. It’s really as simple as that.
After-all that has been said and written, if some people still can’t make up their mind, it is best for America and the world that they stay home on voting day.
TURNING OUT THE VOTE:
Much is being made of the Hollywood types and others who are actively campaigning to turn out the vote; to get people to the voting booths who would not normally exercise their Democratic franchise without encouragement.
I believe that the matter of Democracy is so important to the well-being of a nation and the world, that it can not be trusted to people who have to be coerced or encouraged to come out and vote.
Furthermore; I believe that a political means-test should be mandatory for every voter to qualify and earn his/her right to vote. The test should be as simple as: Name the 3 candidates and the Party which each candidate is associated.
You would be shocked at the number of people who couldn’t pass such a simple test, but vote nonetheless.
I don’t think unaware people should decide upon who makes national decisions that affect not just the USA, but all the world.
I would rather convince ignorant people not to vote, than to convince them to vote for something they have no understanding of.
Many years ago, a neighbor harangued Anne and myself to vote in a local school board election which we knew nothing about. “It’s your civic duty and obligation to vote” he said. So we did.
We asked him who he was voting for, and we voted the same. What an absolutely stupid thing for us to have done. This was many years ago, and we’re still ashamed for participating in an election of which we had no understanding.
People who read my editorials, do so because they want to be informed. They don’t necessarily agree with what I write. But they’re interested in reading my opinions and the letters I publish from time to time. They deserve the right to vote.
But people who couldn’t care enough to read a newspaper, a magazine, a political web-site, listen to talk-radio, and/or watch television news and news magazines, shouldn’t waste their time voting for something of which they have no understanding.
After all is said and done, only about half of the eligible voting population will turn out for the vote on November 2, 2004, and that’s not a bad thing. At least most of these voters, regardless of whom they’ll support, will at least have an opinion based upon some form of knowledge.
In my opinion, that’s part of what Democracy should be all about. The so-called debates were nothing more than a side-show.