OK, OK, everybody got their little wish of having a Subway Series. So now that I can stop watching baseball, I can focus on the second most important thing going in our country now: the presidential election.
I have been around politics my whole life, and politics have mediocre credibility in my mind. But the closeness of this race is pretty darned exciting. I liken it to the frenzied electricity of when the workers at Chick-Fil-A restock the waffle fries. These two candidates are good men, and I enjoy having to pick from good men, or women, for that matter. However, I always forget that there are more candidates than the two big name parties.
There are the Ralph Naders and the Pat Buchanans in the campaign, which brings me to my next point. Why not let them into the debates? I am not saying I will vote for Nader, and lord knows that I will never vote for Buchanan. What would be the harm in allowing them to speak? Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes participated in the Republican Party Presidential nominee debates, and Nader probably has twice their support in the polls. Putting a couple more dogs in the fight only makes things more interesting. But the debates were fun to watch already.
During the first debate, I enjoyed the little maneuvers each candidate used to try to throw the other off during his answer, like ripping a piece of paper by the microphone. This is the equivalent of waving a big rubber tube behind the backboard when someone is trying to shoot a free throw. Those are the little things that affect the debates and we know how much the debates affect the election. These childish actions are designed to put someone into the highest office of our country, and that depends on how much they are distracted when someone rips a piece of paper when they are speaking?
The word `politics’ comes from the Greek word `politikos,’ which means the science of the city, and the ancient Greeks have shaped us today in more ways than one. Do you think with the Socrates hanging around and the Dialectical Method being used back then they would have foreseen the day when the process was not respected by having the outcome not depend on the quality of your answers but whether or not you withstood the slow ripping sound of paper?
I am not sure whether they had paper or not, but imagine how different the Platonic Dialogues would be if every time Socrates spoke, his interlocutor would slam a stone tablet down, smashing it. I do not think Plato’s works would be as revered as they are today, which brings me back to the point on the number of people in the debates.
My favorite Platonic Dialogue is the Symposium. The setting is around a party in which there are multiple Greek men sitting around a house discussing love (sounds pretty homoerotic, huh? The Greeks were into that sort of thing). I find this dialogue to be the most fascinating because of the multiple points of view that are discussed. This brings me to my second point: the word symposium means drinking party. Why don’t we round up all the candidates and send them off to a bar for a lively discussion on the science of the city? No paper. No stone tablets. Just beer and words. People might get a little rowdy and start smashing bottles or throwing pretzels but the environment would be more lively and the multiple points of view would bring about a better way to run the country even though it may be through a haze of beer stench and cigarette smoke. So I say bring me George, Al, Pat, and Ralph and let’s settle into a booth, drink some beer and solve some problems.