Plymouth, NH -
Last night’s debate was like an early season high school basketball game for four reasons.
1) All the excitement came in the first quarter, when everybody was hustling and gunning and shots were falling.
2) Immediately after, their fatigued legs started to slow them down, shots started rimming out, and all I could think of was how exciting the first fifteen minutes were.
3) By the end, everybody realized the clock was almost up, and they wanted to leave at least some impression for the morning’s box scores.
4) Wolf Blitzer’s moderation was not much better than a ten-dollar-an-hour, retired middle school coach, glasses-still-in-the-shop small town high school referee. After he realized that the debate was starting getting out of hand (which held the potential for wild entertainment) he made a bunch of touch calls that helped to grind everything to a halt.
The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I stuck around the Barley House for a while after, chatting with some fellow politics revelers and hoping for a post-debate spark. They were all nice people, and there were even enough Washington roots to allow for a brief discussion of Columbia River shipping capabilities, but nothing was going to make me feel good about the debate.
Not that it was a total train wreck. It is just that placing seven people up on stage and choosing one person to dictate their tone and frequency is yet another control placed on an already message-driven campaign. It doesn’t help that most of the candidates up there are trying their hardest to make mountains out of molehills in terms of gaffes and policy discrepancies. Does this really help us make a good choice about our President?
Much like the NFL playing a regular season game in Europe, or the NBA’s China pre-season spectacular, the goodhearted reasoning behind this geographically diverse and debate heavy primary season is to increase the breadth of people paying attention to the game. But sometimes I fear that, like the NFL and NBA, there is a hell of a lot of money to be made when for doing those same things.
I woke up early this morning to a phone call from the high school asking me not to come in to teach, after all. It allowed me to sleep in for a couple of hours, which is always nice when unexpected, and spend the late morning and early afternoon cleaning up my bedroom and doing some the dishes that had been haphazardly left in my car earlier in the week.
As I tidied, the wind steadily picked up, and by the time 1 o’clock rolled around I could hear it loud and clear in my bedroom above the Lyle Lovett cd playing on my computer. Wind always represents change to me. I wonder what the candidates think about that.
That same wind, which would later blow my car around in its lane in Interstate 93, did its job to bring the clouds where they ought to go, from one part of the landmass to another, and with those clouds came some precipitation.
Today it snowed for the first time since last winter in New Hampshire. I decided it was a change worth driving for, so I hopped in my car and journeyed up to the banks of the Mad River in the White Mountains to make sure I could see the flakes up close and feel them on my face.
Off in the distance, the tops of the higher mountains were covered in white, and I knew things had changed around here, in both the seasonal climate and the political climate. I can’t speak for the politics of it all, but I sure can tell you that the seasonal change was beautiful, cold and refreshing. Mostly, it was nice to just get out.