Sunday, October 7, 2012


I was unfriended yesterday on FB by someone who is sick of political posts. It's not the first time I've been unfriended, well the first time for this reason, but it was very sudden and, I feel, a little harsh. It was a short association, made through a high school group page that I found myself added to a while back but I enjoyed our little correspondences, a friendly person even though I have no clear memories of him from back then.

I made a post about, well, here was my post:

I don't understand why everyone says Romney won the debate. What is that based on, being aggressive and running rough shod over the moderator? Why does that make him the winner, because he talked louder, more forcefully while he was lying about his policies? Sheesh. How about honesty for a benchmark. How about not telling a bunch of lies and contradicting everything else you had said in your campaign previously as a mark for who wins? Calmly stating your policies and how they have helped raise the country from the cesspool he inherited (even with some exaggerations) means you lose? There is something seriously wrong with this country and I'm not talking about the politics.

While this seems on the surface to be about politics, it really wasn't. The politics was just the arena that this little act played out in. Yes, I support the imperfect, stretching the truth Obama and yes I did represent Romney as lying and contradicting all his previous policy statements, but I didn't make that up. It's been fact checked and in the news and even his campaign people had to make a correction to some of what he said.  But really, I could just as well have said Bozo 1 and Bozo 2.

Because what I was really trying to get at was the criteria upon which Romney was declared the winner of the debate. My point was directed more to what our culture considers a 'winner', that demeanor was more important than content.

The debate was framed as some sort of contest where there must be a clear winner and a loser. Why, first of all, does there have to be a winner or a loser instead of two people talking about their positions, making their cases, when the winning or losing will be determined by the election.

It seemed to me that the winner was declared the winner not because his arguments were better, his politics were better, but because he was more aggressive and forceful and I think that is a cultural condition, perhaps even a human condition, deeper that Dem vs Rep. It might be one reason why this nation is always at war, has been at war with few exceptions, since it's conception.

And we have, you know. We have been involved in one war or another and many times more than one at a time for nearly every year of our existence. You can look that up. We have the largest military, spend the most on warfare, have armed forces stationed in over 150 countries.

And that's what I think is wrong. The aggressive forceful guy, the bully if you will, gets called the winner over the thoughtful calm guy. Apparently, right or wrong, truth or falsehood, doesn't enter into it.

Content doesn't enter into it.


  1. I don't watch the debates. I don't watch becasue it ain't a debate. They aren't debates.

    Debates are constructing a logical and cogent argument from a set of facts, and deconstructing the other's arguments by either showing the facts are wrong, or the reasoning is wrong. Debates aren't trading sound bites, or posturing like roosters.

    People watch the debates for the same reason they watch NASCAR - for the car crashes.

  2. Watching the debate evoked one feeling in me--sadness.

    I unfriended a facebook "friend" who acquired me from a hight school list and then shovelled politics. I loved the unfriend button.

  3. Unfriended by another idiot- consider it complimentary. I had a night mare last night- Romney WON! Everything went to hell and the reality hit me upon waking that should that actually happen...I better make a plan. This country will not be a place to pursue happiness.
    I am friending you twenty times!!!

  4. i get anxious watching the debates. i detest the rancor and constant battle. i liked your point about the winner/loser being determined at election time instead by debate.

  5. Good riddance!
    We need to have adult conversations, about serious matters, and this way of deciding, this way of pitting one person against the other in this format or any format where aggression and lies are rewarded in the end is definitely wrong.

  6. Virtual interactions are so fickle. I wouldn't say half the stuff I say on FB to someone face to face. Too bad there isn't a cone of silence we can put over those posters we don't want to listen to. Also, selective hearing (reading) comes in handy in these instances.

    I listened to Ben Stein today on Sunday Morning. Mostly I don't listen to him (I have selective hearing), but today, I liked what I heard. He talked about civil discourse. Civil discourse doesn't make for good tv. John is right...NASCAR makes for better tv.

  7. I so agree with you - it's a kind of anti-intellectualism too. The person who thinks is less popular than the one who does the "hail fellow well met" stuff - even if he's clearly just saying what he thinks we want to hear.

    I had a thought the other day. I didn't watch the debate because I just can't watch stuff like that. But I wonder if Obama seemed hesitant & lost sometimes because he was prepared for what Romney would say, but Romney changed his position so radically that Obama was dumbfounded. I know I was!

  8. Think if all these candidates put all their $$$ toward poverty or hunger and said if you like this vote for me.

  9. I just want Romney to stop wearing that old shirt of George Bush's all the time! I'm surprised he put on a suit for the debate. Obviously, whoever dresses him thinks the pressed jeans and Bush shirt will make people think that Mr. Moneybags is just a regular guy. Um, no.

  10. I agree with you and I also like what John said.
    If you lie in a debate, you're a cheater, a bully, and the loser.

    However, I am curious about what happened with Obama. Maybe he had a fight with Michelle before he went on. Who knows. Regardless, he's still the winner.

  11. Unfortunately, our culture is one of style over substance. One less "friend" to worry about.

  12. Ellen, my dear, you really are applying the wrong criteria here.
    This is politics. The guy with the loudest voice (and the biggest guns) always wins.

    Common sense and reason have no place in politics.

  13. I was at a class that night, so I missed the whole thing. Which is just fine. The election can't come soon enough for me.

  14. Honestly... I am very tempted to unfriend a few people on FB because ALL they ever talk about is politics. If they added variety, I'd be more interested but they don't. But I haven't actually UNFRIENDED them because I try to keep in mind that they have the right to their opinion. I just skip over their FB posts now. I also try to keep in mind that this is election year, that is what is going to happen. Its just... we get enough of that on TV! Don't need it in every other aspect of social media too. I don't like watching sports or politics, and that is all that is on TV these days and I'm sad that my escape route isn't available for the time being.

  15. I just wrote about this SAME THING today. I don't get the idea that someone "wins" the debate. It's a discussion, a presentation of the candidates' positions.

    I think Romney was deemed the winner because expectations for his performance were so incredibly low, and he surprised everyone by being competent.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.