The big winner of Monday's Presidential Debate? Me.
I managed to steer clear of the televised fracas for nearly all of the sixteen hours of coverage offered up by the "major news networks." My avoidance was willful, though aided by a couple of things: I live on the West Coast, so when I rolled in from work a little after six in the evening, the show was pretty much underway. When I walked through the living room, my wife pretended to care about what the talking heads were saying, but she was working on her own form of avoidance by checking in on Facebook while the concerns of the day were being hashed out before a terrified audience. What if the other party's candidate won? Dogs and cats living with each other. Chaos. Fire and brimstone. The kind of thing that makes people go out and buy those bumper stickers that say, "Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy."
Back to this debate thing. Was anybody really watching this production with the intent to make up their mind about for whom they would eventually cast a ballot? Wasn't this just hyper-reality TV with the sound turned way, way up? Weren't we watching to see if someone would fall flat on their nearly presidential face? That sort of thing only happens to vice presidential candidates, and then for some reason we end up seeing way more of the losers than we ever would have imagined. How can this be?
Before the discussion of one another's voting records and choice for favorite International Coffee, my wife had to toddle off to some other venue, leaving the television machine in my hands. I promptly switched the channel to Monday Night Football. Without a vested interest in either the Atlanta Falcons or the New Orleans Saints, I still felt compelled to stare at the goings-on down there on the field as if there was something truly important at stake, like who would end up in the cellar of the NFC South. Even that wore thin quickly, and I found myself being pulled by the siren's call back to the news channels and their expert analysis.
But I resisted. I went to bed that night without any sort of anecdotal knowledge of what had transpired at Hofstra University. If there had been any sort of revelation, I was certain that I would hear about it the next day. Or not. In a high-scoring affair, the Atlanta Falcons edged their Louisiana rivals and kept their fans from having to shop for red and black paper bags to wear over their heads. The Saints? They probably wished they had stayed home and watched the debate.