OK, I admit it, I fell asleep during the Presidential debate.
I got the lay of the land: the sober, restrained President; the overly aggressive, bulldog-style challenger; and poor Jim Lehrer, looking overly made up and rather frantic, trying to maintain order.
The truth is, I don’t like debates as a form of political discourse, especially not when we’re talking about something as important as who gets to hold the American presidency for the next four years.
This shouldn’t be decided on the basis of who is more aggressive at sniping at the opponent.
Pundits were quick to fault President Obama for not displaying sufficient fire in the belly, and I have to agree, I would have liked to see him put his rapier wit to better use.
But can we say that Mitt Romney “won” the debate simply because he showed more aplomb at throwing around inaccurate statistics?
Who do you want as your President, the man who can keep his cool and who believes in telling the truth, or the man who is all bombast and blather, and is quite comfortable with stretching the truth as need be?
The elephant in the room of this debate, and I suspect in the next debates as well, is climate change.
Neither candidate wants to talk about it, although it’s true that Romney is Mr. Fossil Fuel, while Obama is a tad more amenable to alternative energy.
All the projections about deficits and economic growth, etc etc ad nauseum, will be totally moot when and if the earth’s atmosphere goes way out of balance. And all indications are that this is already happening, faster than anyone expected.
What we should be doing now is preparing for a brave new world that we have brought upon ourselves. A world of violent storms, droughts, floods and wildfires, a world of acidified, dying oceans and rainforests turned to deserts.
No, this is not science fiction, this is real, and it’s already happening.
What we desperately need is a politician who will dare to stand up and tell the truth about where we’re heading, and the truth about what needs to be done to head off total catastrophe.
Obviously, neither Romney nor Obama is that leader.
Are we going to simply follow them over the cliff of climate change?
Although it may be hard to recognize, we do have other choices.
All involve taking the risk of stepping further off the beaten path. The lifestyle that most of us Americans were raised to see as normal is, in fact, a big part of what has brought the entire world to the brink of disaster.
We have to change.
And if we can’t find any leaders to show us the way, we have to do it ourselves.
Look into your heart and try to hear the deep, wise voice that lives there.
We know what to do. It’s just a matter of summoning the courage to actually take those first baby steps into a new world.