Usually I ask my readers to point out typos, punctuation and/or spelling errors. However in this piece, please ignore any commas in the wrong place, and any "i's" before "e's" in the presence of "c's"
I am not thinking clearly; I am terribly distressed. I have recurring nightmares; I can't stop perseverating. I can’t watch Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow. I turn off NPR. No, I didn't put my hand in my power saw again. I watched the debate. My lord, I am suffering from PTDSD, post traumatic debate stress disorder.
Hubristically I declared in my last Democracyinactionblog.com article that debates rarely matter and likened them to over- hyped professional wrestling matches. Who would have thunk that when confronted with a well-prepared, truth- be-damned Romney, the President would perform like an overtired, wedding-anniversary-celebrant debilitated by altitude sickness? It happened, and I am devastated. "Mitt" - can you imagine a President Mitt?
Okay, Obama lost a debate, life should go on. After all, I have a great wife, good kids and perfect grandkids. Yet truth be told, I am incapacitated by fear. I am overwhelmed by the horrifying thought that post-debate Obama will lose; Romney will win, and our government will be in the control of deranged paranoid nincompoops.
Wait, "deranged paranoid"! My god, I am a deranged paranoid, and so are many of Romney's base. But we are deranged paranoid polar opposites.
They are afraid of change; change they cannot control. They are afraid of living in a country inhabited by people of different skin tones. They distrust the unfamiliar. They fear gay couples being their neighbors. They are afraid America won’t be the mightiest military nation in the world. They are panic-stricken when science informs us that our planet is in distress; that we had better change our ways and curb our appetites. They are terrified that their little daughters will reject abstinence in favor of those pills and rubber thingees. They are deeply afraid of a modern world where science trumps religion, and solutions are complicated. They yearn to go back to a world that no longer exists and perhaps never existed. They seem to yearn for a return to the Ozzie and Harriet world of the 1950's. But perhaps, they would most prefer to wake up in 1773 and witness the real Boston tea party.
It appears to this writer that the only hope for human survival, let alone prosperity, is to be creative, to be scientific, to value new thoughts and solutions, and to expand opportunity. But for my opposite deranged paranoids on the right side of the aisle, the solution is to retract, to annul and to repress. The framers of our constitution were the brightest of their time. They were original thinkers and scientists; they composed a ground -breaking instrument that was both radical and malleable for the future. Here comes that PTDSD again…. Mitt, not Mitt!
Obama, by all accounts failed on style during his debacle debate. Pundits say his "substance" was passable, but Romney excelled on style. In the Twenty First century, style trumps substance, even if that substance is substantially subterfuge. .(Note: PTDSD often causes excessive alliteration) Terrifyingly , Obama seemingly failed to take modernity into account, and thus Romney's floundering campaign morphed into a viable one. Will my country be viable with a lie-able President Romney?
The nightmare: If Mitt is elected, the odds are that he will get to appoint one to three Supreme Court justices. If that occurs, I would suggest that we formally rename our highest judicial body The Supremely Conservative Court. I fear this court's mission would likely be to annul, repeal and repress decisions that have provided opportunity to so many, and allowed this country to become a nation of modernity. It is only by the will and dint of our courts that minorities and women have gained a voice, that dissenting views could be heard, that science is not silenced by superstition, that the worker and the accused are protected, and the power of the wealthiest people and institutions are held in check.
For those of you who have any doubt. I give you Justice Scalia's words uttered a few days ago,
"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/antonin-scalia-abortion-gay-rights_n_1942068.html
Imagine a court with six Scalia-like justices; now you know what PDTSD feels like. Prozac, anyone?
Last word…. Please, please Joe give em' hell; I need a break.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 is the BIG night, the face off, the supreme contest, the ultimate battle, the main event.
At 9:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time drums will roll; trumpets will trumpet as PBS CSPAN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC and, for all I know, Animal Planet and Nickelodeon broadcast the first 2012 Presidential Debate from the University of Denver . Fifty million Americans will be holding their collective breaths as Mitt and Barack will go at it mano a mano after months of sparing, preparation and coaching. Oh, the thrill of it all! Oh, the anticipation.
Jim Lehrer will do his best to keep the combatants on target and the action going. Hannity, Matthews, Maddow, Blitzer, Cooper, plus a phalanx of commentators, and seemingly anyone with coiffed hair who has mouthed the word "Republican" or "Democrat" will be at the ready to interpret, analyze and unequivocally declare the winner the millisecond the spent debaters break from their obligatory, phony, final handshake.
Networks will electronically monitor focus groups composed of "undecided" voters. Their reactions to each thrust and parry will be compiled and analyzed. It does, however, appear outrageous to me that the opinions of this cohort, arguably the most uninformed, timid, and indecisive group of our citizenry, have great predictive validity and should be of interest to anyone with a functioning brain.
In the days following the big debate the American public will be relentlessly bombarded with video snippets of bruising punches, painful jabs, inglorious misses, below-the-belt hits and maybe, just maybe, a KNOCKOUT blow.
Truth be told, most research indicates that Presidential debates have little or no impact on actual voting. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/obama-romney-debates_n_1925690.html ) Most voters at this late stage in the game have their minds made up, and they ain't likely to change.
We the people have seen Obama react to real crises and deal with countless reporters' questions and challenges. Romney has been running for the public office for years, and for the Presidency since 2008. Aware citizens know how these men react; they have seen their skills lauded and their gaffs ridiculed. The most likely effect of a candidate's performance, and I mean performance, is to not change but rather to reinforce opinions already held.
Few past debates have affected outcomes of elections. Perhaps the two most famous of these were the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate and the 1980 Reagan-Carter match-off. The 1960 debate was pivotal neither because of words spoken nor opinions stated, but rather because of sweat and 5 o'clock shadow. Nixon was incredibly non-telegenic and Kennedy glimmered like a cool and collected young rock star. In 1980 when Carter and Reagan were running neck and neck, Reagan used his honed thespian skills to undo the plain-talking peanut-farmer candidate.
Decades later it seems likely that make-up artists, media savvy personnel, and script preparation greatly lower the likelihood of an impactful debate. Thus despite all the hoopla, October 3 will likely make for a pretty uneventful evening and have little effect on November 6th.
Why expect otherwise? Each candidate has his must-include-lines memorized; lines which will be utilized as answers, even if they do not fit the question asked. Mitt and Barack both have clever gotcha's and zingers, and given the slightest opportunity to get a laugh, generate some audience applause, or embarrass the foe; they will be launched.
The upcoming contest is in many ways like a WWE wrestling event: well planned, great build up, unlimited expectations, great announcing, faux anger, a little humor, coupled with much show and bluster. However, occasionally, something goes wrong; reality breaks out, blood is drawn and wrestling history made.
That history will be made next Wednesday - doubtful. Fifty million viewers including me sitting on the edge of their seats watching and waiting for that unlikely history-making knockout - non-debatable. Let's get the popcorn ready.