2016-09-28 / Editorials

The Presidential Debates

Presidential debates have piqued our curiosity since JFK vs Nixon in 1960. The media raised questions about perceived character based upon shallow observation of looks, mannerisms, and demeanor (even then). Perhaps the media was acknowledging what the everyday person was basing their preference upon, subtle and subjective judgements based on whether Nixon had shaved or not, or his state of personal dryness, etc.

John F. Kennedy won, with his idealism and charm, but sadly was not with us long enough after; Richard Nixon went on to gain the presidency years later.

These questions must not stop up from delving beyond looks to the content of the candidates’ statements, and more importantly, their actions. We are looking for substance, for the honorable candidate who embodies most the qualities of credibility, experience, competence, values, character, integrity – and expertise – if the presidential candidate does not have accurate facts at hand, how can they be depended upon to make wise decisions? They cannot, in turn, be depending upon various others in their cabinet, people whom we did not vote for.

Do they have clear, well-reasoned, reality based plans for running the country? We are looking for straight answers that are intelligent, principled and precise.

The media is trying to generate excitement

– and ratings – treating the debates almost like a wrestling championship, with the booming sound effects, ironic graphics and urgent, barking announcers in their ads. It is a bit more serious than that. We know that in our parents’ prime, they would never have tolerated such flippance. But then their news anchors were serious journalists with deep knowledge of history, politics and world affairs, not masters of the segue and platitude.

We want future generations to admire our collective judgement, and not to say “What were they thinking!” All we can say for the moment is keep an open mind, be objective and evaluate the candidates accordingly.

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