Stop the boring debate; give us something fresh

October 30, 2012

In an effort to appear knowledgeable to my readers, I decided to attend one of the local political debates in town last week. OK, by readers I mean the one woman who lives on a chicken farm out in the Midwest and has her feed delivered wrapped in a newspaper. And by effort I mean I found a parking space. I heard that every fact in a debate is checked for accuracy.

Now, I have a philosophy about debates, political or otherwise; the only good debate is one that ends with the summation, “Yes, dear.” Clearly, with a well-rounded, analytical answer that I have elicited from my opponent, I might just have a future in politics.

But the nice thing about debates is you can learn some amazing facts, or you can gather information that will help you make up your mind about things. For instance, I was surprised that as soon as I found my seat and looked down, I noticed that the hardwood floor was put in with a diamond pattern. I had no idea you could use wood to make different configurations in a room. It was polished and smooth, just like the candidates who took the stage. Interesting.

One of the problems I have with political debates this late in the game is that the questions seem redundant. You know, the classic solve-the-problem question, “What would you do to deal with,” then fill in the blanks with key words like jobs, economy, crime, Cialis, etc. Every debate wants to know the answers to the same questions over and over again, when in fact they know the candidates have about as much power to do anything as Superman when he tried to stop the reverse rotation of the Earth but was blocked by Kryptonite that was left on the highway by the evil, vile Department of Transportation taken over by the Joker.

I would like to see a debate where thoughtful, insightful and probing questions are asked, like, “Do you wear boxers or briefs?” Now that would attract everyone’s attention. And the moderators wouldn’t be able to impose themselves into the debate because no one cares what the moderator wears anyway; it is a simple question and inquiring minds want to know.

I know what you are thinking; how is a woman candidate going to answer this kind of question, and couldn’t they come up with a vaccine for Kryptonite? Well, women occasionally wear boxers.

In fact, I had a roommate in college who woke up one morning wearing boxers. OK, she had been out all night at a toga type party and had a serious case of amnesia, but she did tell me after a few days the boxers were surprisingly comfortable.

The other problem I have with political debates is all the numbers and figures thrown around. The average American has trouble remembering their PIN for their ATM account. Four digits is the limit for most people. They can’t recall the number of the floor where their car was parked in a parking garage with only two floors to consider. Put forth a million here and a trillion there, and well, you’ve got an audience that has dents in their heads from nodding off into the back of the chair in front of them.

Still, you have to admire those who are willing to get up on stage and answer questions so the public may be informed about their choice. After all, if no one came forward to declare for an office, it would have to be left empty. And then where would we be … ah, the light has finally dawned.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.