( or “How Stupid Are We?”)
My wife and I just had an argument. I think we were arguing over her being disappointed with Obama’s loss in the first debate and my being understanding of that loss. Her point was that Obama should have called Romney out for lying throughout the debate, for reversing what few commitments he had made during the primary race, and while stumping afterwards, right up to the day of the first debate. My feeling was that Obama may have given us too much credit as an audience.
If I were to debate to an opponent who lied straight through the event, start to finish, would I choose to speak about the reality of the subject or would I spend the whole time accusing my opponent of being a liar? Should I assume that the audience knew better than to fall for a bunch of what Biden calls ‘malarkey’, or would I waste the entire evening ripping up every lie my opponent uttered? That’s not an easy call to make–especially in the USA, where the audience may shock you with its depth of ignorance and weakness of reasoning power.
Even the so-called ‘pundits’ and talking heads described the debate as a Romney ‘win’, with the caveat that he lied over and over, reversing his public views on everything. Is this a fair statement? Do I actual live in a country where liars are considered the winners of a debate, simply because they took some Ritalin® before the curtain went up? Is the president a loser simply because he overlooked all the lies of his opponent, opting instead to address the issues in an honest, substantive way?
According to the polls, yes, indeed! That’s exactly the type of country I live in. The USA has jumped the shark of free speech and gone for assessing ignorance as a respectable argument–merely another point of view, rather than a poor joke as compared to knowledgeable speakers’ statements. And this strategy may win the election for Mitt because, according to all those deep-thinking ‘undecided’s out there, Mitt CAN have it both ways.
He has warned the public for years now (as has his entire party) that Obama’s policies are destroying our country, our economy, and our way of life–and that our President must be replaced with a Republican before America goes completely to wrack and ruin. Then, at the first debate, he claimed that his policies were indistinguishable from Obama’s–with just a tweak here and there!
Can he have it both ways? Is impudence a debate ‘win’? Should we remove the President that turned around our economic landslide, and replace him with a Republican (the people that started the landslide)? Should Obama’s pro-active hunting down of global terrorism and piracy be replaced by a businessman who knows how to convert those evils into cold cash for the corporations, without unduly restricting said ‘evils’?
Tonight’s Town Hall debate should provide the answer–but I won’t be watching the two debaters–I’ll be watching the ‘towns-folk’. If the audience echoes the false memes of the GOP, accusing the President of false faults and lacks, and accepts Mitt Romney’s character as suitable for supreme leadership, then we live in a Wonderland as ludicrous as Alice’s. If they press Romney for substantive, specific answers, and accept some basic truths about the President (for example, that he has done a Herculean job of reversing our economic woes), then I shall watch the debate with great interest. But I’ll still remain more concerned over my fellow Americans’ powers of reason than the, to my eye, obvious differences between our two choices.