ABC 4/16 Democratic Debate: An Exercise In Absurdity

Who caught last night’s debate on ABC? If you did, you are probably feeling like I am this morning, thinking I’ll never get those ?@#! 90 minutes of my life back. My sentiments are loudly being echoed across morning cable news, the blogs, commentary and news websites. Let’s just say that Democratic peeps are angry this morning.

As well they should be.

Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous didn’t what I would call “moderate” the debate. It’s more like they TMZed the debate, avoiding important, substantive topics that will actually factor in the candidate’s abilities to govern the nation. Instead, all the “manufactured issues” – as Barack delightfully refers to them – were hurled again and again at BO and HRC in a clear effort to humiliate them, catch them off guard, or somehow lead them into a gaffe that will be played on loop across all media in the Western Hemisphere until the Pennsylvania primary. It was disgusting – like they were political paparazzi. If it wasn’t for the wonderful distraction of Top Chef airing a few minutes afterward, I would have finished that bottle of Chianti in an effort to dull the shock and awe of the evening.

Let me also bring up the fact that George Stephanopolous worked for the Clintons. Closely. For a long time. And while, he wrote a tell-all after his departure, doesn’t his previous employment kinda serve as a conflict of interest? I know we’re all adults here, but I thought that was in poor taste. And for me to say something is in poor taste is really hanging it out there. Plus, Charlie Gibson is very capable of shaming ABC’s reputation on his own.

I think the first time I actually stopped and said, I cannot believe they are asking these types of questions was when Georgie asked of Obama, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?” Now, if that’s not the most fucking retarded question a moderator can ask of a presidential candidate who has very good chances of actually ending up in The White House, I don’t what is. Perhaps the boxers vs. briefs inquiry Bill Clinton received in 1992 can compete, but that was on MTV. By a kid. This was George Stephalopolous. On ABC.

The debate continued on, unhindered by much relevant discussion on topics with which the next president will grapple. Lightly touched were gas prices and the economy and the Iraq War and education, but that generally happened when the candidate could steer their answer away from some idiotic question about bitterness and Bosnia.

Furthermore, all the analysts this morning are talking about how poorly Obama did or how Clinton won the debate. Which is odd when every poll I’ve seen indicates the majority of those polled think Obama won the debate. HRC quickly jumped on the attack wagon whenever the moderators brought up a “manufactured issue” against Obama, including the whole William Ayers topic (read Obama’s bio, people – if for no other reason than he will probably be the next president of the US). Obama repeatedly defended HRC right along with himself, saying the two are speaking a lot and campaigning hard and of course there will be some verbal missteps.

I thought he handled the issues well and was genuinely surprised to see all the negative reaction the analysts were having today. I think that largely stems from their desire to see a beat-down and want Obama to get in there an mud-wrestle Hillary and his unwillingness to stoop was disappointing to them. To the rest of us “every day” folk who can see the forest for the trees, he did well and we like that he’s not treating the primary like a bar-room brawl. That’s why all the polls are showing people thought HE won. These anal-ysts need to take a few or go on vacation. Out of touch doesn’t even describe it anymore.

Lastly, and this point really has nothing to do with the debate, but Charlie Gibson said he was sure every American said a prayer for Virginia Tech as it was the anniversary of last year’s massacre. Not a big deal. However, in an effort to please the masses and ensure rating, news organizations are forgetting on a large scale, that over 20 million Americans are atheist or agnostic. We don’t run around waving flags and brainwashing new recruits or sending disciples to tithe to our organization or they’re going to hell. We’re not organized. That’s the whole point. I would also almost guarantee that there are quite a few more closet atheists and agnostics who fear repudiation and being ostracized from their family and community where they to admit their disbelief.

I remembered Virginia Tech and held the deceased in my heart for a moment. I did not pray. The sentiment that “every American said a prayer”, while not wholly offensive, is indicative of an ignorance that atheists and agnostics are the fastest-growing sector in the faith, or lack-thereof, segment of our society. Most atheists and agnostics are educated and watch debates and watch news and are growing disgusted more and more with the assumption that everyone is Christian, a sentiment which IS offensive to A LOT of people.

I understand news organizations need to appeal the masses and already-brainwashed group-thinkers are more likely to buy the products advertised during the commercials. I would advise news organizations (especially CNN), however, in their efforts to dumb-down their programming, to remember that some of us have progressed beyond the culture of fear that our afterlife is determined by faith in the words of men from long ago who sought to control the masses and succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations. It is embarrassing and appalling to watch, so I will continue to garner the majority of my information from the Internet – which I suppose is what we should all do anyway.

In the meantime, we can only watch as humanity progresses, some more slowly than others – as demonstrated by mainstream news organizations, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous.

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