I had considered watching the third and final debate between the presumptive Presidential candidates on Wednesday night, but baseball interfered. More to the point, the Chicago Cubs interfered. I was ruminating on how I had been a bad member of the electorate by sticking my head in the sand and insisting that there was no way that what was done or said on that stage in Las Vegas was going to change my outlook on the last couple of weeks before the rest of the country lined up to make their mark and ring down the curtain on one of the more regrettable episodes in our electoral history. Someday this will be studied at the Electoral College, but for now I will be puzzled by this: How did the brain trust behind the scheduling of three debates between the folks who would be president land them on evenings with major sporting events? Monday Night Football twice, and National League championship once.
Sure, I know that this year's National Football League schedule has been most notable for the number of topics that have been generated for our national debate fodder with all the sitting, standing and kneeling that has taken place before the games were ever played. I suspect there are those who would equate my reticence to watch the Presidential Debates in favor of spectator sports with taking a knee myself. Full participation in the democratic process would look like me sitting in front of all the pre and post coverage, as well as reading and digesting all the spin that comes in the wake of the babble that takes the place of substantive political discussion. But it's the Chicago Cubs!
As it turned out, that last Wednesday evening, I had a flat tire on my bike. I called my wife to come and pick me up. When the back end of the car opened up for me to put my crippled steed inside, I could hear the strained tones of the candidates warming up their rhetoric. I asked, politely, if we might avoid the train of soon-to-be-fact-checked statements on the ride home. When we got there, I went straight to the basement where I took some time to replace the inner tube and mount the wheel back in its proper place. I was aware that the debate and the baseball game was going on while I maintained my commute vehicle. My choice was essentially made for me: I would be watching neither Cubs nor Candidates.
When I finally walked into the kitchen, the show was still on. I knew the Cubs had a lead at this point, and so I surrendered to the meal my wife had thoughtfully prepared in earshot of the talking heads. I caught the last few questions and was struck once again by the antagonistic tone of what they had to say to one another. Pleasant, unemotional conversation aids digestion, after all.