I've been up a lot thinking, because I can't sleep so well anymore. And I haven't been blogging, and I figure maybe getting some of those thoughts out will help me sleep at night. It might get political. No it's probably getting political, so you know, read on only if you're into that kind of thing.
Election season has me in a flurry of thoughts about the way it should be or could be, were we not so far gone on opposite sides of the playing field. I wrote a piece not too long ago for the blog over at Red Letter Christians about getting out of our political comfort zone to find empathy for the opposition. Ultimately, it was all about how I think we should move toward compromise in more realistic ways by attempting to understand one another. I was feeling particularly hopeful when I wrote that one.
However, in the wake of the presidential debate, I've seen some real ugliness rise up from my social media feed from both sides. I'm glad people are paying attention and that they're fired up, but I'm not finding the intelligent discourse I was hoping for. I'm finding jabs and sneers and snide, unsolicited comments from the peanut gallery. None more pronounced than those made by my liberal friends and acquaintances (who make up the majority of my news feed).
I found the debate to be a disappointment. The content and clarification I was hoping for was simply not there. "Specifics" were not specific at all. The topics were danced around, and both sides were primarily concerned with being accusatory. They got stuck on points that didn't matter, just to make one another look bad. They were unfathomably rude to Jim Lehrer.
But the reactions I saw were nothing to do with the content of the debate. I saw no one crying foul about issues being glossed over or specifics being left to the imagination. I saw comments about how Mitt Romney was being a slimy bully. I saw people crying foul over him bulldozing Jim (though President Obama did the same thing in an equally if not more disrespectful way). I saw Obama being called a socialist.
Most of what I saw seemed to be liberals trying to defend Obama's loss of the debate by calling him cool and collected in contrast to Romney being insecure and attacking. People calling Romney a bully (while ironically using some choice words themselves). People who are too far gone to look at this through any sort of reasonable lens.
I'm an independent, and though I normally lean to the left, there was no question in my mind that Romney stole the show at the debate. He had the "zingers" and was incredibly well prepared. He was self-assured and unapologetic. Obama looked weak in comparison. That was my opinion (and one open to fair argument) and takeaway on the face value of the debate.
But you know what? None of that should really matter. I know that it does. I know that charisma and strength are as important in a presidential election as they are in picking out a prom king in high school. I guess I'm just saying that I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in the debate. I'm disappointed in the system. I'm disappointed in the reaction of those around me. I feel like we're drifting farther apart and it steals my hope some days.
Just some thoughts.