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TV debates this weekend

Try to watch these. From a Wetterling campaign e-mail:

League of Women Voters Debate
Broadcast on KSTP, channel 5
Friday, Oct. 27
7:00 p.m.

WCCO Debate

Broadcast on WCCO, channel 4

Sat, Oct. 28

11:05 p.m

No additional details, but the WCCO debate seems kind of late...


It struck me as a little odd, and is, I believe, worth mentioning, how MB was so straight-on, laser-focused on the camera during this debate, even during the portion of the debate which had the candidates asking each other questions. As a TV viewer, I got the impression that she was refusing to look at (or be distracted by) JB and PW. Or was she just showing us her best, most photogenic side? Maybe I missed something, but I was left with a puzzled and somewhat negative impression of MB, as her behavior seemed very cold, and this is not how I'd like to see human beings, much less candidate citizens in a country like ours, behave with each other. It's not whether you win or lose -- it's how you play the game that counts. Right? Well, I can wish.

I also thought that young Mr. JB was refreshingly straightforward and honest, and I was impressed by that. I hope he runs again in the future. I especially liked his question to PW, asking how she justifies her own campaign commercials - they do give me (and apparently others) the impression that PW has sold out to the standard soundbyte-based campaign tactics -- you know, the kind that mislead by taking words and actions out of context. Well, obviously, she's not alone, and in fact, she's a target of those same tactics, but it's still disappointing that she couldn't take the high road. And I think that disappointment is what JB was trying to point out to her.

A final impression emerged during the questioning about international affairs. I have to say I was turned off equally by the naivete and the self-righteousness I witnessed. Each candidate had a perspective, but no one seemed to have a particularly good basis for their opinion other than personally held principles. I guess, in order to run for any office, you have to know it all, don't you? I think it's almost farcical to listen to these three candidates talk about what to do about Iraq, Iran, or North Korea. I'd like to know if any of them has foreign experience on which to base their opinions. Who among them speaks a foreign language fluently? Which of these candidates can speak to cultural differences with something more than an uncomfortable degree of tolerance?

It's worth realizing how necessary it is to understand other peoples and places and perspectives if we are to avoid casting bad votes and implementing bad policy in the future. It's not enough to just know ourselves and what we stand for anymore because we live in an age of greater empowerment where we all have greater roles to play in the common welfare of our families, our communities, our country, and the planet. To all three candidates, I say: Start where you are, but please don't stop there. It's important to get to the place where differences can be appreciated, not just tolerated.

Should clarify - my comments are regarding the Channel 5 debate!