Reflections on the presidential debate

Luckily, the two foes will be meeting again Friday for another round of exciting verbal jousting.

Thursday night, as millions of Americans around the country, I sat transfixed in front of the television set and watched as the true meaning of democracy became clear to me. Enthralled by what I was witnessing, I hung on every word, every gesture and every expression. Soon, tears of joy and appreciation began streaming down my suddenly more patriotic cheeks, and I truly realized how lucky I am to live in a nation as free as ours.

Where else but in the United States do politicians fight so passionately for the people’s vote?

Where else but in the United States do candidates come together before a primetime audience to duke it out rhetorically?

Where else but in the United States can I completely ignore politics and watch six straight hours of “SpongeBob SquarePants” on the night of some huge presidential debate thingy, not feel bad about it, and only have to move twice from my faux leather reclining chair (once to pay the pizza-delivery guy and once to empty my urine bottle)?

Of course, all my Thursday nights are dedicated to SpongeBob and his rascally ways, so it wasn’t as if I went out of my way to avoid watching the debate between President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

Indeed, I made certain to pretend to find out later what I missed. I actually wasn’t surprised to learn that I didn’t miss much.

Apparently, there was a lot of talking and arguing, but not much silly, underwater, sponge-filled fun, which automatically validates my television choices of that night.

Besides, the candidates spent the whole time talking about the war in Iraq and terrorism while completely ignoring the issues that are truly important to me.

For example, I want to know what they would do in other parts of the world. If I were the moderator, I would have asked more poignant and probing questions: “What do you think about Guam?” “Where is Guam?” “Isn’t the name ‘Guam’ funny?” “Don’t you think we should start naming more things ‘Guam?’ “

I want to know about their morals. Is it really that terrible to wear the same pair of underwear two days in a row? Eighteen days? (I couldn’t find any quarters.) How do they feel about computer abortion – pressing the “abort” button when some program on their computer screws up and a window pops up with the only options being “Retry” or “Abort”? I mean, come on, no matter what your views, eventually you just have to press “Abort”!

I want to know how they would handle the economy. What if tomorrow, God truly laid the smack down upon us and, out of the blue, Miller Lite 24-packs started costing $1 more? How would each candidate respond to that kind of earth-shattering fiscal crisis?

What do they think about the environment? Isn’t it really about time we said enough is enough and finally killed all the bastard squirrels that are roaming around this campus attacking my nuts instead of some tree’s nuts every time I try to enjoy a nice nap out in the sun?

And about this whole greenhouse effect and whatnot – it’s freaking cold up here in Minnesota – is global warming really that bad?

I want to get to know the candidates personally. Do they kiss on the first date? Boxers, briefs or the much cooler man-thong? Who do they think is hotter naked – former Attorney General Janet Reno or Vice President Dick Cheney?

And I also want to ask the real questions:

Why does Bush invariably insist on sucking so much?

Why does Kerry invariably insist on sucking just slightly less than Bush?

Is there some kind of sucking contest going on that we don’t know about?

Just like a Democrat to lose that contest, too.

In the end, researching Thursday’s debate turned out to be thoroughly exhausting and just turned up these and more questions for me.

Luckily, however, the two foes will be meeting again Friday for another round of exciting verbal jousting. This debate promises to be more stimulating than the first, as this time the candidates will actually take questions from the audience – perhaps some of my queries will be answered there!

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to miss watching this one, too, because my Friday nights are dedicated to six hours of Yogi Bear.

Hemant Joshi is a University graduate student. He welcomes comments at [email protected]