The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Non-scientific polling of my friends, family, social media contacts, and the tall guy down the street who insists on owning a toy poodle shows that 100% of them were frustrated by the vice presidential debate this past week. All of them yelled, “Answer the d#&$ question!” at least three times during the debate.
Both Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris demonstrated the art of the dodge and deflect, illustrating that they’d passed the “Who is The Best Evader” course offered by their debate preppers.
I think everyone was expecting a nightmare from the presidential debate (expectation met!), but hoping for something more substantial from the vice presidential candidates. Sadly, we were disappointed.
Sure, the vice president role is usually little more than a figurehead, someone stuck with the funerals the president doesn’t want to attend and handling meetings of lesser consequence.
But this year, with the presidential candidates well into their 70s, voters are looking more seriously at the vice president candidates because they could wind up as the White House’s Big Banana sooner rather than later.
So yes, Kamala, we actually do want to know what you think of the Democratic caucus fighting among themselves about increasing the number of Supreme Court justices.
And yes, Mike, we do want to hear you unequivocally denounce white supremacists.
We also want to hear that the Democrats believe climate change is an existential threat and some people’s taxes will be raised as we solve the problem. As an aside, I wish the Democrats finally realized that fixing climate change is the pro-life issue of our time and used that to reach out to undecided voters of faith.
We want the GOP candidate to acknowledge that Republicans believe in deregulation for innovation and that spoiling part of the environment (looking at you, Alaska) for the greater good of the lower 48 is an acceptable trade for not raising taxes around this same issue. Just be truthful about all the issues, and let the cards fall where they may.
But no, politicians try to be all things to all people, and the truth is the enemy of being everyone’s fake best friend.
So I got to thinking: If politicians are allowed to be so evasive, shouldn’t we all have that option?
For instance, when your significant other asks, “Do you love me?,” you could say, “That’s an important question. I do believe in love, and I believe in you. But shouldn’t we actually be asking if there’s even an answer to such a universal question? And look over there! Is that a unicorn?”
Or, when a history teacher asks for two main causes of the Civil War, a student could write, “There was so much prior history that it seems aggressive to ask me to pick just two causes of an issue with so many sides. You know how we prefer coffee in the U.S. because of the Boston Tea Party? Well, soldiers consumed a lot of caffeine in the Civil War. In closing, I think you can agree with me that both sides were involved.”
Or, when a lawyer asks a witness where he was on a particular night at a particular time, that witness could say, “I have been very consistent on my position about time and place and I will not be lectured by some fancy-schmancy attorney about it. All you need to know is I am somewhere at all times, and never, at any point, have I been nowhere.”
If it’s good enough for people running for office, I think it’s good enough for the rest of us.
Renée Schafer Horton once said in a political press conference, “Let me repeat my question so you can actually answer it this time.” She urges everyone to vote Nov. 3, regardless of frustration with the candidates.