• Prof. James O'Flannery

Debate Debrief

Dear readers,


Excuse me, I mean dear viewers – those of you who watched the first presidential debate, that is – what a bunch of fireworks last night! Those candidates sure came ready to “rumble”, as you youngsters say. My word, I haven’t seen such sparks fly since I sold my old Packard Clipper!


Of course, I am only speaking metaphorically. Neither candidate actually threw a punch, although you could see a few moments when they might have thought about it!


But wasn’t it amazing to see the two men side-by-side on television? What a marvelous modern world this is. I was particularly struck by how young and handsome the two appeared. Richard Nixon is much taller than I thought, or maybe John Kennedy is a little shorter. Either way, how fortunate we are to have two young, patriotic, and visionary Americans running for office!



I will admit my biases lie with Nixon. I always admired his life story. How he came from dirt poor Nowhere, California and endured several personal tragedies before pushing himself through law school, serving our nation admirably during the war, and distinguishing himself as a creative, daring, and capable public servant.


Kennedy’s background is likewise impressive. True, his father was a bit of a scoundrel and he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but on the other hand, his war record is undoubtedly heroic. To say the least, both men obviously care deeply about their country and cannot be accused of either mindless vanity or vapid self-regard.


Do you know what else I love about both candidates? How both clearly recognize America’s greatest geopolitical foe. Sure, they may differ on the best responses, but neither has any illusions about the threat posed by large communist nations to the prosperity and peace of the whole world.


Nixon = Mega Hunk!!! xoxoxo ;)

Nor does either candidate harbor any sympathy for socialist theory or its false promises. Sure, Republicans like Nixon might err more on the side of business and the free market, whereas Democrats like Kennedy might err more on the side of government and bureaucratic regulation, but neither party is fundamentally opposed to the basic American rights of life, liberty, and property.


We are so very blessed as a nation to have two parties that can respectfully debate one another over specifics, while sharing so many foundational beliefs in common. Could you imagine how awful it would be if the nation became bitterly divided over two entirely incompatible worldviews? Just think. What if one party – say, within the next ten years – embraced a program of radically altering American law and society? My God, it would be as if the communists had already won!


I’m sure that would never happen though. Even if one of the two major parties took a wrong turn, surely they would correct course. I mean, you can’t keep up something like that for half a century! Sheesh, what do they plan to do? Capture the institutions of journalism and education? Embark upon a path of cultural manipulation and academic indoctrination? Heavens to Betsy!


No, I shall not waste your time, dear reader, with such improbable speculation. Besides, there is much more about this fascinating debate I should like to share with you.


Kennedy = Eeew, Gross!!! :) :) :)

Another thing that struck me is how knowledgeable both candidates were about domestic policy and foreign affairs. Agree or disagree with their positions, both candidates demonstrated a detailed grasp of current and past public policy, as well as a broad understanding of military matters, national history, world geography, and social realities. Neither ever resorted to meaningless platitudes meant to flatter the American viewer, but rather spoke directly and candidly, as if they held the intelligence of the average American in the highest regard.


The questions posed by the news correspondents were likewise thoughtful and well-considered. Our excellent newsmen rightly understand their function is to act as a conduit between the people and the candidates, with as little editorializing as possible. I must imagine every American who watched the debate learned something from such an intelligent and respectful discussion.


Lastly, I think both candidates should be commended for their civil conduct during a number of exchanges that threatened to grow heated. It is reassuring to know both can keep their cool under difficult circumstances and not let external pressures bring out the worst in them.


In no way whatsoever could one candidate be characterized as a theatrical bumbling blowhard or the other as a sniveling creepy weasel. It’s a good thing the leadership of both parties understand that character matters when it comes to the office of the president. Neither of the two major parties would ever nominate a witless buffoon, a shrill witch, or a senile weirdo to high office. They have far too much respect for the American voter to do anything of the kind.


Well, I sure enjoyed the debate the other night. I’m confident the next one will be even more informative and useful to the undecided. For the moment, I can rest easy tonight knowing there are still statesmen left in America. God forbid our government should ever be led by bickering septuagenarian/octogenarians, either hopelessly out of touch, or morally bankrupt, or poisoned by sinister ideologies, or just plain vacant.


May the Almighty punish us mercilessly if that ever should become the case.


Sincerely,

James O’Flannery




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