It's over; the only thing left to do is vote. Last night, Governor Romney and President Obama engaged in their final debate.
The general tide supports that Obama edged out Romney by a small margin. My favorite guru, Nate Silver over at the 538 Blog says that the debate is unlikely to provide Obama with a large bump but that a small bump will still be significant. I can't read the rest of the article because the blog is on the New York Times site and I've used up my 10 free articles for this month. If I want to read more articles, I have to be a paid subscriber or just wait to November for my next 10 free reads.
The debates were about as substantive as the "reality" shows that abound on the major networks. The moderators fail to ask substantive questions about matters such as climate change, the impact of the European economy on America, alternatives to fossil fuels and so on and so forth, and the candidates don't care if they answer the questions that are asked, only that they make points that their supporters will applaud.
The public plays a major role in this pretense of doing something meaningful. Far too many people have the attention span of a toddler and only wake up and focus when there is a zinger offered by one of the participants. The media actually writes reviews of the debates analyzing who gave the best zingers of the night. The President appears to have won the zinger contest in last night's debate with his reminder to Romney that the modern Navy is not just a bunch of ships but consists of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Of course the memorable part of the chastisement was, "Governor,...we also have fewer horses and bayonets..."
The Huffington Post thinks that the President's zingers were "sharp but snarky." (Hunter Stuart and Oliver Noble) Various critics declared the President the loser of the first debate, chastising him for not offering any zingers. The talking heads on Good Morning America offered that the attack mode of the President in the last two debates may have upset women voters. Didn't bother me, but then I've watched Liam Neeson kick butt in Taken three times.
It would be nice if candidates could have real debates where they talked about the issues. Imagine scoring points with viewers by actually saying something substantive that required you to listen and follow the intricacies of the discussion. Everyone glued to the screen and not a single soul texting or playing Words with Friends on their electronic gadget of the moment.
I also hope for world peace. I'm a patron of impossible causes.
I support President Obama. I believe that he does think about matters of substance but realized that his initial efforts to engage in civil and substantive discourse wasn't playing well with Mr. and Ms. Average American. I enjoyed his zingers, but that's not why I am voting for him.
I'm casting my vote for Obama because I believe that this country needs a leader who thinks about what matters. A leader who is focused on our interaction with the rest of the world, who understands that foreign policy is not about threats and waving a big stick. I want a leader who believes that we are all in this together and supports domestic policies that address wealth distribution. You see, I don't believe that poverty is inevitable, that people are homeless because they are too lazy to do better, or that any child should go to bed hungry. I also believe that we can do better as a country, that we can work to build a society based on equity and fairness for all. I'm voting for Obama because in spite of the absence of any discussion of environmental issues in the debates, the President has demonstrated in practice and policies that environmental protection issues are high on his agenda.
Maybe next election cycle, we'll hear candidates engage in substantive discussions of the issues that should concern us all and maybe Denzel Washington will call me to chat. I work at being an optimist.