What something is called matters! Don't hand me a pig's ear and call it a purse! I know the difference. So should most people. Let me be clear:
As defined by Webster's:
debate n : a contention by word or arguments as the formal discussion of a motion... b : a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.
discussion n : a consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate.
town hall meeting : from Wikipedia : an American English term given to an informal public meeting derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Everybody in a town community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. Attendees rarely vote on an issue or propose an alternative to a situation. It is not used outside of this secular context.
Okay, now that we're clear, let's get back to the ridiculousness that was presented last night. The second Presidential DEBATE was presented as using a TOWN HALL MEETING format, where about 80 undecided registered voters were randomly chosen to be on the stage with Governor Romney and President Obama. The intention was to have these voters ask questions that they wished answered; the questions were chosen in advance by the moderator. With me so far?
It was supposed to lead to DISCUSSION between these two and the questioners who represent us, in terms of things we feel are important and would like to hear their ideas and notions. It would give these two candidates the opportunity to more clearly define the differences between their view of the issues.
But, what we got was throw away moments of an American citizen honestly, and with commitment, asking their question only to have these two boobs use them as a springboard to go at each other. There was no true exchange...no discussion...no respect...no better understanding of the people who were there, either of the people who asked the questions or these two who totally missed the point of the evening.
Shame on the Commission for setting this thing up for big failure in the eyes of any who watched this train wreck. And, rather than thinking either one of the sparring partners came out the winner, as far as I'm concerned, they both lost. And I lost an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.
To my mind, the one who would have come out the winner, would have been the man who was smart enough to give a real rat's ass about, not only the question, but the questioner. The winner would have been the one who momentarily connected to the man or woman standing there with major nerves jangling at the notion of asking a powerful person a question on national television. The candidate who would have carried the night would have made that questioner feel important rather than a toss off.
The one who could have truly won the debate last night would have been the man who decided to stop fighting the guy standing next to him and concentrated, instead, on being in true COMMUNICATION with the individual who had asked the question. The winning candidate would have stayed on the question instead of using it as a weasel hole to launch off into what else they wanted to say instead of answering what was courageously asked of them.
The winner would have demonstrated true care and commitment to being the leader of the free world by giving a damn about the citizens sitting in the circle around them instead of using them as fodder to spew their agenda.
But neither of them was smart enough to forgo their need to beat the other guy senseless and care more about the people. Which, sadly, is the way most people running for political office at that level behave more times than not. Especially in a public forum. Does an individual give up their Human capacity to genuinely LISTEN, and thereby demonstrate the ability to truly care when they go into politics?! Sadly, it seems they do.
Do I blame President Obama and Govenor Romney? Not really. After all, they are being constantly prepped for a DEBATE and this one was called The Second Presidential DEBATE. No, I blame the Commission for calling it one thing, yet setting up as another thing by staging it as a TOWN HALL MEETING. Setting up the citizens on the stage as well as us in the viewing audience to hope against hope that these two men would rise to the occassion of being able to decern and give a damn about the difference.
Stop using the town hall format as a platform in a nation debate! They are mutually exclusive concepts; set up this way they do not foster better understanding of the candidates.
Today, spokespeople of both parties will be on the news shows and talking head moments crowing about how their guy won last night. They're all spinning it today. I should know, I was part of the Spin Doctors as my career.
But the truth? The real truth? Both Romney and Obama failed because they were too determined to hammer their ideas and what they thought you should know rather than listen and connect to even one of the citizens who were part of the process with them. They were too concerned about the smack-down between each other instead of taking the opportunity to show how they could and would genuinely care about the citizens they say they wish to serve.
Simply saying the questioner's name and thanking them for their 'important' question before you launch off on what you want to say instead of answering the question and connecting with them as a Human Being does not constitute truly caring!!! Don't pander! We know when you're doing it and we don't like it!!
So, shame on both of them. Shame on the Commission on Presidential Debates, and shame on the moderator who allowed her bias to slip out too much. I am, once again, totally disgusted with the political process.
Namaste' Till Next Time,