The following post originally appeared on Medium.
What the hell is wrong with us?
I watched the debate last night; and frankly, I could have written this post before I wasted my time. I bounced back and forth between disagreeing and agreeing with aspects of what both of them said. The problem is this: even when I found myself agreeing with what was said, I didn’t actually believe it. It just felt like Kabuki theatre. At this point, do you think that they even believe themselves?
I will let others in the media pick apart all the inconsistencies — what each of them wore, which candidate sounded more presidential and who ultimately won. I can’t imagine there will be any surprises as I suspect most of the media outlets picked the winner long before the broadcast began. Too cynical? Maybe. But if a recent Pew Research study is to be believed, my cynicism regarding the media is shared by a majority of the country.
It is well known at this point that politics has become a team sport (I have a post coming on that topic). But what I saw last night brought to mind the gladiator games of ancient Rome. Not because it was a death match, but because the whole spectacle of it seems to be aimed at distracting us from the real issues we are facing as a country.
Both of these candidates are playing an old game. They are so entrenched in doing battle over the details that they’re losing sight of the war. Yes, some of the details are important. But at no point in the debate was there an acknowledgement that there is more to this election than the same tired, rehashed topics of the past year: Birthers, emails, ISIS, stamina, tax-returns, etc.
These candidates, and their respective parties, are dinosaurs.
When did “your team is worse than mine” become the prevailing motive in our country for engaging in the democratic process? How many people are truly for their candidate as opposed to being against the candidate from the “other side”?
Listen to this clip from Bono. His perspective on America is so powerful and clear.
[Bono, if you happen to read this, I would love to talk with you again, on or off the air.]
As a foreigner, it’s possible that Bono is able to see America more objectively, which may allow him to more accurately assess America’s greatness. But I can’t help but think that it’s a sad state of affairs when the clearest, most salient voice on the value of America isn’t coming from an American citizen, let alone the next President.
The idea of America has been bastardized.
It is not about owning a home, two cars and a white picket fence. It is not about retiring with a nice little nest egg and a gold watch. It is not about healthcare. It is not about anything the next President spoke about or even seemed to understand. America is an idea; it is a simple idea, but one that had never been tried before...