Tonight there will be another Presidential debate.
The cameras will be trained on both hopefuls and the world –like it or not– will be watching. Maybe it will not be as high-profile an affair as the Vice-Presidential debate was. where so many people were watching in glee hoping she'd make an idiot of herself (because schadenfreude drives ratings up, don't you know?).
But people will watch. They will watch and they will discuss and they will argue and they will cast aspersions on the candidate they do not favor. They will liveblog and dissect possible blunders. They will declare their favorite the winner, casting the opposite side as a horrible mockery of politics; the democratic process gone awfully wrong.
Pundits will talk until they look purple and sweaty and fleshy– that is to say, they will do what they usually do, in their expensively-cut suits and perfectly shellacked hairdos.
And armchair pundits will enjoy the sound their words make. "Why can't the rest of America listen to me and believe what I believe?" they may ask themselves. They will remember statistics and details to share at the water cooler. They will store mispronunciations and possibly lavish much attention upon perceived malapropisms.
Tonight, America will sit divided, watching one of the climaxes of this poorly-run and particularly pathetic Presidential race which would have been swept under the rug if it were not because it's the acid test for the nation: Are you racist or are you sexist? Or perhaps, both.
Amazingly enough, it is less about the issues and less about the health care plans and less about gay marriage (because did anyone truly realize that neither candidate actually endorses the term "gay marriage"?). It is less about the economic crisis– a fact that baffles economists on both sides of the party lines, and whose full effects will not be fully known for decades.
It is less about whether these people —all of them good and worthy people who've made their careers along different paths but whose original wish was to serve their country by running for political office and by making their voices heard– are willing to perform a hard job which is exactly ONE THIRD of the power that controls this country. About whether they are willing to undertake a thankless and hard job that ages you horribly and takes years from your lifespan, and more whether they are more or less like you or me or whether they are more or less educated or whether their pasts include marital infidelities or politically radical friendships.
All both sides of the major political parties can do is sling crap in both directions at these people and be truly, astoundingly vicious.
Tonight I refuse to be part of the machine. I am not watching the debate. I don't want to be mad and I don't want to watch what will be dissected. I will make up my own mind in the privacy thereof; I will educate myself in as non-partisan a way as I can possibly find and I just don't want to hear or read about the nastiness anymore.
And I am still exercising my right to vote, but this is the last you'll hear about it in this blog.