An Old Man’s Debate and the Lesser of Two Evils…

October 22, 2014 10:04am
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Sometimes I feel like politics is more geared towards my parents’ generation.

At least that’s how I felt about watching this debate – both of the candidates are around 60 years old, the moderators were older people, and just the entire presentation of the debate itself wasn’t anywhere near in a format that I would demand as a voter to actually help me make a decision as to who should be the next Governor of the State of Florida.

Sure, they had some questions from social media, but that’s not even in the same neighborhood as what I’m talking about.

1) It’s clear before the debate even starts that the moderator in the middle is biased towards Governor Rick Scott, and bias has no place if you’re chosen to orchestrate a political debate.

2) The exchanges at one minute are too short and don’t really give the candidates a chance to get into their actual opinions after they’ve spent the first 30 seconds positioning themselves without really saying anything, which doesn’t end up being a big deal because…

3) The moderators don’t hold the candidates’ feet to the fire and actually make them answer the fucking questions, anyways!!!

Sure, there were a couple where the girl on the end asked for clarification because “she might not have gotten an answer,” but fuck that – I want to see moderators who are actually going to grill candidates and who will sit there and say, “You didn’t answer the question – YES or NO, do you believe that the ban on gay marriage is discriminatory??? And we’re not moving on to the next question until you tell me yes or no.”

I guess I don’t understand why, after doing these debates for a long time now, we don’t have higher standards for them because at the end of 1:07 of watching this exchange, I can’t really say that I know a whole lot more about the two candidates than I already knew before…

I know that Charlie Crist is the democratic candidate and that Rick Scott is the republican candidate, and they’re both playing their roles in those political wheelhouses as expected.

I know that Rick Scott wants to continue running the state like a business, which I have huge problems with considering his numerous conflicts of interest already as our governor.

And I know that Charlie Crist doesn’t really seem to have the fight in him that I’d like to see of a political candidate who wants to run our state – neither of them do – because frankly this debate was really boring.

Oh yeah, and I know that Rick Scott was being really petty over a stupid fan … is that what I’m supposed to use to base my vote for governor on?!

This year’s election, and even the last presidential election, seems to me to be a perfect example of what’s wrong with the political process in this country because when I go to cast my ballot in the next couple of weeks, I can tell you right now that I’m not walking into that booth to vote for somebody – I’m walking into the voting booth to vote against somebody else. And that’s a terrible way to choose a leader.

I look at Rick Scott and I see a mini Mitt Romney, and after watching him govern us for the last four years, I’m ready for anything different.

I used to think that I liked Charlie Crist back when I didn’t pay much attention to the politics, but watching this debate reminds me that he’s just more of the same.

Neither of them are the candidates that we need to move our state forward here in 2014, yet I’m forced to cast my vote for the guy I don’t like because there isn’t one on the ballot who I do.

It’s sad when we have to turn to entertainment to get political discourse that’s actually worth its weight, but I also recently re-watched this debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly from a couple of years ago, and I think the actual debates could learn a think or two from it. I know that, like The Daily Show, it was first and foremost meant to be a lighthearted comedy show, but there’s actually some good back and forth here because, well for starters, the debate format actually allows them to go back and forth! This whole you have one minute, you have one minute, next question! shtick may be the way our grandfathers used to debate, but what I want to see out of a debate is an actual debate where at the end of a given question, we actually know where each candidate stands on an issue. And if one of them is blowing bullshit, I want the other candidate to be able to call him out on that bullshit in more than just:

  • “During his term, my opponent did ABC…”
  • “No, I didn’t, but you did XYZ…”
  • “Yes you did…”
  • “MOVING ON!”

I want a debate to get heated. I want the candidates to argue. I want them to stand up their and fight for their principles in front of all of us so that at the end of it all, we know that we’re standing with the right candidate for reasons, not for partisanship!

You can follow a debate outline to address specific questions without sticking to this rigid, carefully calculated by a guy in a suit schedule that still manages to leave us empty-handed at the end of an hour-plus – maybe this formal, uninformative bullshit is what contented our grandparents, but it’s time to start gearing elections for a different generation.

And maybe part of that takes a younger generation of candidates, too – I don’t know. There are a handful of younger guys – some seem decent, some molded from the same as their grandparents – but with more and more career politicians, that’s how we end up with a President who’s 10 years younger than our Governor.

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, though. I’d like to think that older voters would like real answers to these questions, too, even though it begs the question of why haven’t they demanded it despite being around much longer than my generation has. Or maybe they have and politicians just don’t care because despite everyone having a political opinion, only half the nation can be bothered to vote during a presidential election and even less come out for the mid-term elections. There’s only so much of the same people can take before they throw their hands up and say, “It doesn’t matter, so I’m going to spend my time doing anything else.”

I think the bottom line is that the entire process needs an overhaul, from the candidates themselves to the people whose job it is to get information out of them for us, and while this particular debate was a horrible example of anything intended to actually help voters make their decision in November, hopefully it can garner more people getting agitated and demanding change rather than just growing old and cynical and giving up. 😕

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