Call It What It Is

And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Matthew 22:16

Jesus had a way of telling the truth to people, regardless of their opinion of him. He was an amazing teacher and truth teller. I so admire that about Jesus, our source of truth. Calling things what they are is important. We need clarity, and we also need that truth today more than ever. Adherence to truth, however difficult, lowers our stress in the long run.  

A proven way to lower stress is to have clarity in our expectations, so that we can be honest with ourselves and others. For example, the Presidential debates scheduled for airing this week have the potential of raising our anger and stress levels. If we have clarity about what they really are, we can see them in that light, and not put into them some other meaning which will cause us undue anger and confusion.

Let’s be clear, the media experience we will see later this evening between President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden will not be a debate. It will be an exercise in media exposure as a way to pump up each candidate, a venue for each candidate to vilify and diminish his opponent, and a pep rally for each participant to sing the praises of their party. It will not be a reasoned discussion of the topics that Americans need to consider in order to make a good choice between the two candidates.

I think there is virtually no chance that an undecided voter will, by virtue of well-reasoned and articulate arguments, make a decision about which candidate they will vote for. Rather than get upset by this situation, I suggest that we simply call it what it is. A rally for your candidate. You will cheer your favored candidate, and you may become angry about derisive comments from the opponent.

As long as we can call it what it is, I suppose that is fine. It seems to be baked into our quadrennial elections, so we accept it for what it is – inevitable. It’s just not a real debate.

I have the idea that a debate is an exchange of viewpoints, absent name-calling and low-blows which are demeaning to both the accuser and the accused. A reasonable exchange of ideas, though certainly differing, done with respect and truth, is a great thing. Since I have not seen that happening in recent years, I simply want to have clarity on what we will be watching.

I appreciate a good exchange of ideas, however different they may be. I do not appreciate people talking over one another, not giving the respect of hearing out the position of the other party.

So, it is a pep rally, a campaign event, a chance for exposure. Fine with me. However, once one of the candidates talks over his opponent, demeans him, or calls him a name, I am turning it off, and saving myself the ignominy of perpetuating the charade we have come to call “debates”.

That’s just me. If you like the theatrics of campaigning, great. Just don’t call it a debate.   

Prayer: Lord, give us peace in this election season. Let grace and reason prevail, Amen.

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