Reform the joint media appearances!

I slept through the “debate” last night. Literally. I had a sleep test. I don’t have sleep apnea, thank goodness. At least I don’t think so because the technician didn’t put the breathing device on me (which he would have if I had shown signs of apnea).

And it appears I didn’t miss anything substantial between Senators Clinton and Obama, either because all they were asked about were lapel pins, lying about sniper fire, and their pastors. You would think there wasn’t a war in Iraq, a mortage crisis, an environmental disaster and a collapsing economy. Maybe my priorities are just screwed up.

Hunter at dailyKos (thanks Mary) has a great essay up. The first graph:

After the first forty minutes of last night’s Democratic debate, it was clear we were watching something historic. Not historic in a good way, mind you, but historic in the sense of being something so deeply embarrassing to the nation that it will be pointed to, in future books and documentary works, as a prime example of the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless, into self-celebrated vapidity, and into a now-complete inability or unwillingness to cover the most important affairs of the nation to any but the most shallow of depths.

And the last:

Perhaps, if nothing else, it is time to take back the debate process and insist once again on moderators chosen for competence, expertise and neutrality, rather than network or cable network fame. The elites of our press have managed to botch the task time and time again; perhaps it should be left to someone with an actual interest in doing the job.

The one thing this essay doesn’t touch upon, nor does any other commentary I’ve read or heard on last night “debate” is that not only do these joint media appearances need to be rescued from incompetent moderators working for a media more interested in entertainment than issues, BUT these joint appearances need to:

1. be real debates – old school debate team debates

2. once we get past the primaries, they need to include all the candidates on enough state ballots win the electoral college (and hopefully we can soon dispense with the electoral college).

Can you imagine Ralph Nader, think what you will of him, putting up with that stuff last night for one second? Not a chance. Lapel pins? Please? Next question. No I will absolutely not answer a question about lapel pins when we’re spending 700 million dollars a day in Iraq. You’d get the same from the Green Party candidate be it Cynthia McKinney or Jesse Johnson.

Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, there are serious electoral reforms that, if you are a Unitarian Universalist, need your serious consideration if democracy is to be upheld as a core value in society as well as the congregation.  Full participation in presidential debates (and dismantling the Commission on Presidential Debates) is one of them.

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