There’s quite a bit of chatter about the recent presidential debates between GOP nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. These timed spectacles are so tough for the candidates as they try to cram so much into edible sound bites that appeal to their party platform and the undecideds. Fact checkers have been working in overdrive and day-after articles focus on the stretched truths and distortions that are unfortunately present in both side’s cases.
In the mean time, I was pleasantly surprised by a discourse between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart on Saturday night that had a more comic take on the presidential issues. I have not been a huge follower of each personality but have a general gist of their stances but I do know that O’Reilly and Stewart are very different in ideology. I really appreciated their view points and assesments of the current state of affairs. With a steady mix of youthful humor, pointed criticism, and honest admissions, a big part of the fun would be seeing which of these two seemingly polar opposite people would crack first.
Surprisingly, the conversation was great and shed a great insight into the fundamental differences between the two party’s stances. Government that governs least is best vs. government that governs best is best…with the main intent of the event to encourage youth to engage and for young voters to get out and vote, I think this collaborative mock debate was brilliant. Differing opinions do not mean we cannot have good discussions and if O’Reilly and Stewart can do it…so can we.
It reminded me of the West Wing live televised debate between WW presidential hopeful characters Rep Matt Santos and Sen Arnold Vinick. The characters were loosely based off P. Obama and Senator John McCain and would become a surpisingly prophetic piece as this episode aired a year or two before Obama’s successful 2008 campaign.
The beauty of the debate is that it is fairly true to each party’s platform and in line with each candidates character. The best is though that through their differences you truly see each candidate’s desire to do good. Sometimes in the hoopla of the 24 hour news cycle we systematically tear down people and parties, cynicsm rises and apathy reaches new heights.
Despite the differences in ideology, social issues, financial issues, there’s significantly more that unites than divides and from time to time we do well to remember that. And for everyone else who’s been standing on the sidelines, it’s time to get into the game!