OPINION – President Obama lost the first presidential debate of the 2012 election.
Suffice it to say no one actually, credibly, contests that. Well, almost no one.
But despite the meanderings of the “paid for by advertising dollars pundits” of the news machines of our day, he lost for far graver concerns than staring at his toes and not having a teleprompter.
He lost by omission.
Advocates for his administration, while baffled as everyone else about his performance last Wednesday, are loosely laying claim to a Bonaparte scenario whereby he merely opted to let Romney continue to hurt his own efforts by simply being himself. The self that insulted London, blew it in Israel, and disenfranchised the 47 percent.
But Romney presented a strong, and likable new version of himself capturing the electorates attention thus thrusting himself to a now more even race for the Oval Office than before the debate.
The debate itself was nothing more than a dog and pony show whereby people already predisposed towards one side or the other walked away all the firmer in their convictions and the undecided likely remained so as well.
This begs the question, how do we now define a victory?
Liberals espouse to love the Constitution, and conservatives espouse to oppose the power of big government.
It is by omission of anything that resembles an address to those ideals by either candidate that it can be asserted that both lost. The real loser in that debate and this election is you, me, and the American people.
While the debate itself was characterized at the outset as being about the economy, it is in fact more like a smoke and mirrors act whereby real time issues affecting the future of America are negated in lieu of pontificating half-truths about economic policies. They both remained in the safe place of ambiguity and left an apathetic voting base hardly even questioning why.
Obama stated he had some concerns with the wording in the recent draft of the National Defense Authorization Act. His concerns notwithstanding, he signed it into law this year thereby decimating a core tenant of not only the Constitution, but our constitution as a free people.
Romney supported that bill.
And while one made emphatic hand gestures to gesticulate a powerful persona, and the other stared at his cue cards and wondered what he was going to order for desert with his wife on their anniversary, the American public thought they had actually witnessed a presidential debate.
It is becoming more cliché than ever to bemoan the ineffectiveness of the election process. Even more so is the tendency of the same people doing the bemoaning to develop selective amnesia to their contentions when it actually comes time to check a ballot.
This facilitates no change.
It matters not who wins the election, either of them will carry on with the NDAA as it now sits and this alone, in my opinion, is actually a reason to disqualify them both for the office.
And bet the ranch neither one of them will talk about it at all in this election but that neither assuages nor negates its reality.
What is the answer?
I honestly do not know.
Perhaps it is to abide the timeless wisdom of the adage that one cannot repeat the same process and expect a different result.
Perhaps the answer lies in our willingness to forgo the madness of trying to make a flawed and corrupted system of government work. To turn around and take a forward step as Yvon Chouinard would say.
But that would require something different from us, the people.
Judging by our willingness to accept this mockery of our election process, I think we are a ways from being ready to tackle that unknown.
If anyone really won in that debate, it certainly was not America.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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