10/07/08 — Debate? Really? Real discussion will come after televised exchange

View Archive

Debate? Really? Real discussion will come after televised exchange

Tonight Americans will gather around their televisions to try -- once again -- to figure out who would make the best new president of the United States.

The second debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain is scheduled for this evening, with TV newscaster Tom Brokaw at the helm.

After the presentation, which really is more of a question-and-answer session than a clash of ideas, the usual suspects will take to the airwaves to tell voters how to interpret the exchange.

And the Obama supporters will be sure their candidate won -- as will those who would prefer to see McCain in the White House.

But the reality is that there might not be enough revealed in tonight's debate to make a final decision on who would best serve this nation. Debates can sometimes leave you feeling even less sure of your choice -- and there are several weeks left in this campaign.

And you have seen these exchanges before -- and then lived through the actual implementation of the policies. Promises are a dime a dozen during campaigns.

So does that mean you should ignore tonight's clash? No, of course not. This is one more piece in the process of deciding who should be our next leader.

But as you listen, don't discount your gut, your common sense and your own ability to determine who has ideas and plans and who is just spouting politics.

This has been a very strange election year. In most years, the candidates are not actually faced with a real crisis as they campaign. They are dealing more in criticism of past policies and promising "change."

This time around, not only are the hopefuls being watched for how they deal with the mess, but they are actually part of the group that helped make it happen.

And since no one really knows what the right answers are -- and what action will best set the country back on course -- for now, we have to listen for leadership as much as for solutions.

The real test -- and what might actually assist in narrowing down where votes should go -- will come after that.

After tonight's exchange, it will be important to get a context -- a grip on not only what the candidates said, but how they took command, if they sounded like they get that change is more than just a word.

Your analysis of that performance is as important as those you will hear from pundits on both sides of the aisle.

After that, it will be time to do some research of your own to determine if what was said matches the rhetoric and past voting records.

Buckle down. There is still much work ahead.

Published in Editorials on October 7, 2008 12:14 PM