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Man, what a drag!
I like writing positive posts and wanted to say something great about last night’s debate. I suppose we could say that it was civil, and perhaps we could say that no fights broke out, and perhaps we could say that neither candidate was made to look uncomfortably bad or super-embarrassed.
But after that, there were three big misses and I hope the 3rd and final debate, on October 15th at Hofstra University, will reverse the trend and give us not only information but what we really need in these times: Inspiration.
First, the format could have offered us so much more and it didn’t. This was supposed to be a Town Hall meeting, but it really looked more like a typical debate with the chairs arranged a little differently. Where were the heated exchanges? Where was The Veteran, Tom Brokaw, pushing the candidate’s buttons and engaging emotional responses? Where were all of the questions that he didn’t pick that were something we wouldn’t have heard in another debate? It looked more like a School Board meeting than a Town Hall scuffle. And I don’t think I learned anything new as both candidates simply repeated their stump speeches.


Second, both candidates continued their finger-pointing and nit-picked over minor points of future possibilities. What would happen if just one debate could have a simple rule: no talking about the past! What if it was simple: “What will you do?” “How will you do it?” And if you don’t answer the question directly, “we’ll turn your mic off.” And then what if the moderator actually did that?!
Third, where were the two candidates who appeared on Rick Warren’s stage just several weeks back? That night, there was plenty of talk about faith and its role in politics and leadership, and there was plenty of discussion of both candidates’ personal belief in the power of prayer and importance of faith. But this week, when un-prompted, there was zero mention. None. And this in a time of economic peril?!
Both candidates showed that either their personal faith journeys are really more about building a brand than a real journey, or that they’re both so well off that they’re not feeling the personal need for reaching out to God as part of dealing with this crisis. Unless the third debate–and the interviews between now and then–can provide a change, then the most compelling election we’ve had in decades will really turn into something much, much less than must-see-TV.

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