Like most Americans, I didn’t watch the staged media spectacle better known as the presidential debate. It is not just because I didn’t have a dog in that fight; it is because to me the quadrennial political mini-series is nothing more than a rigged, wasteful use of an hour and a half of prime time television.
First of all, it is not really a debate but a glorified press conference. Journalists hurl softball questions at the candidates giving each the opportunity to regurgitate their perfectly rehearsed sound bites. Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile if Obama and Romney were allowed to go toe to toe by stating their positions, asking each other questions, and arguing the merits of their positions without any filtering from an aloof journalist moderator? Better yet, wouldn’t it be more worthwhile if other candidates were allowed to participate and give Americans a chance to hear views other than the sanctioned establishment line.
Then there is the fact that once again the major parties have nominated two candidates for president who are quite similar. Whether it’s Social Security, corporate bailouts, endless wars, or government spending, Obama and Romney agree more than disagree on most issues. Isn’t it time that other views besides the one that has gotten us into our economic mess, endless wars, and erosion of constitutional liberties be allowed to be heard?
Lastly, as is always the case in the debates, several important issues were totally avoided. What about our military’s continued drone war that has left hundreds of civilians dead in Pakistan? What about the failed War on Drugs that has made America the number one jailor in the world? Okay, the first debate’s focus was domestic policy, so killing innocent foreigners was outside that realm, but the violence engendered, the lives ruined, and the constitutional liberties destroyed by Washington’s decades’ long insane drug policy could have been broached.