I hate listening to and watching politicians. Most of their so-called debates can be boiled down to: “We’re right!” “No, we’re right!” “Well, you’re stupid!” “Oh yeah? You’re more stupid than we are!” I agree with my friend on facebook: I see plenty of childish arguments at home with my children, I don’t need to watch the potential “leaders of the free world” (or their understudies) engage in them on national television. A debate is supposed to be about the logical application of rhetorical devices to basic premises for the purpose of persuading the listeners that one side has a more valid argument and therefore has reached a superior conclusion. Logical fallacies undermine the argument and should be avoided at all costs. Or we could spend our entire time attacking the arguer instead of the argument, or appealing to a greater authority, or constructing a false version of our opponents argument and attacking that instead of the actual point, or any number of other poor debate tactics. And based on the outcome of said travesties, intelligent people are supposed to select a person to be in charge of the entire nation for four whole years? What do you really believe about things? Why? Can you acknowledge past mistakes? How will you seek to correct them in the future? What of the past is worth keeping and improving upon and what needs to be abandoned as irretrievably failed? What will you replace it with? If it doesn’t need replacing, why were we doing it in the first place? Can you handle hard decisions? Because your job will be full of impossible dilemmas, and I need to know that you can make a call and stand by it. “Are you perfect” and “do you stand behind your past record 100%” are questions for fools. No one is, does, should or can. And I stand by that. Hindsight always makes us question past decisions…that’s what hindsight is for. If you don’t have the discernment to identify past mistakes, even those made in ignorance and not in foolishness, I don’t want you. If you can’t give me some answers to questions starting with why, then you either think way too much of yourself or way too little of me, and I still don’t want you. But this is the only kind of politician who ever makes it to the national stage. We want these people to act like this. We demand a blemish-free reputation – which only encourages people to obfuscate their pasts – but we fail to demand that they treat the voting public with respect. We don’t really think anyone has lived as long as they have and yet done nothing shameful. I do things that make me cringe every single day! I’m not interested in pandering to the pride of those who think it is enough to put on a thin veneer of condescending kindness. And no, I didn’t watch the vice presidential debate…but I unfortunately heard a lot of it from the other room, valiantly though I sought to avoid it.