The second Presidential debate is scheduled for this Sunday in St. Louis. We’re all too aware that the candidates, like significant portions of our country, disagree about a lot. Fortunately, I believe I’ve found something all Americans can agree upon.
Donald. Hillary. If you truly care about America as you say you do, then please: cancel this debate and spare us these 90-minutes of hell.
The facts are simple: you’re under no constitutional obligation to engage in this debate. These things are a matter of habit, not regulation. Further, if you both agree to walk, neither of you could be blamed for doing so. Throughout this election voters across the spectrum have expressed a desire for change—take this golden opportunity, play Oprah, and make our dreams come true.
We know it’s been a long slog, and when you’re as self-absorbed as each of you are, it’s easy to overlook the concerns of everyday folks. But here’s how things look from this side of the podium: nobody needs to hear more about the tax returns Donald’s not going to release. We don’t need more talk about Hillary’s email server. We don’t need specious implications that Bill’s infidelities have any bearing upon Hillary’s qualifications. And we certainly don’t need more blather about Rosie O’Donnell, overweight supermodels, imploring shout-outs to fact-checkers, or Vladimir’s Putin’s glistening physique.
That list doesn’t mean those things aren’t important. To varying degrees, some of them are: Vlad’s athletic thighs certainly do raise eyebrows on the tennis courts. The unfortunate reality is that after more than an entire year of this, we have reached the point where it’s clear that we will not receive greater clarity about any issues, significant or otherwise. It’s difficult, if not outright impossible, to believe that we will learn anything of value about anything of value from either of you this Sunday night. That fact leaves us with the ugly reality of tuning in only to see which of you will score the better dig. If you recall, that’s why people watched Jersey Shore, a show which, unlike this election cycle, we were able to cancel.
Regardless our political differences and divisions, all of us are tired and worn from this election. Everyone just needs a break from the two of you. After all, in a sixteen game season every NFL team gets a week off. We’re way overdue.
This debate, like the first, is scheduled to last ninety-minutes. That’s a lot of time. Imagine what we could do with those 90-minutes instead of listening to you two. We could toss a ball with our children, go for a walk, spend time weeding the garden, take a nap, read a book, cook a delicious dinner. Heck, it’s October—what’s more American than watching playoff baseball, an event whose outcome, unlike this debate, is actually guaranteed to be unknown.
Let’s pause and acknowledge that the thought of giving up 90-minutes of unadulterated attention will likely be terrifying for both of you. Simply contemplating the idea may bring on feelings of vertigo, nausea, and a general malaise that leads to deep existential despair. To counter these concerns, try and imagine yourselves playing the role of Daylight Savings: everyone loves it when we get that extra hour of rest. And remember, this is your opportunity to give a real and tangible gift to the very Americans who will soon be marking their ballots for one of you.
Let me also suggest a couple things that you, Donald and Hillary, could do with a debate-free Sunday evening. If you really care about serving our country like you say you do, why not take these 90 minutes and actively help someone who needs it? Volunteer at a soup kitchen, help with a maintenance project at a local park, or deliver a meal to a nearby nursing home. When deciding how to employ your time I’d like to encourage you to follow your hearts, but that notion is predicated upon you having such organs. Instead, maybe just go out and do something human and kind that demonstrates that you actually care about real Americans.
My best suggestion for you both is this: it’s clear that we’re stuck in this mess largely because of a drastic failure of our education system, which has created an electorate that consistently fails to engage the claptrap that tumbles from your faces with critically informed analysis and civic discourse. So I suggest that each of you take these 90-minutes and help tutor a child with her homework. After all, the only way we can be certain of avoiding a mess like this again is by raising a people who won’t stomach the likes of either of you.
Donald. Hillary. Be kind. Give us a break from the swirling, all-consuming vortexes of your egos this Sunday. After all, we’ve got to prepare for another debate on the 19th…