Ever notice the leading questions? In the October 2019 Democratic Debate, one of the moderators asked the wannabes what they would do as president "to check Vladimir Putin's power on the world stage?"
That does one thing. It puts all of them on notice. All must agree to "check" Russian influence in the world. But why? Is this world ours alone? Hasn't the post-Cold War unipolar world been one devastating, deadly catastrophe on top of another? Russia's not debatable. And this is supposed to be a debate? Sorry, that's beyond the scope of the question....
And whose taxes will be raised and by how much to pay for universal health care? Seriously? Not even a chance to say we could rearrange the government budget instead of taxing everybody - like severely cutting the trillions handed out to the Pentagon and weapons industry? Let's hear some talk about all the good things that money could be spent on. Ooops! Not allowed.
It's the old "when did you stop beating your wife" kind of quiz. A real debate - that it ain't.
And note how they exclude other parties that mmight respond very differently to the same questions. Nope. Just two. It's either the Democratic face of the corporate coin or the Republican side. Same coin, same value, same agenda. Heads or tails?
I suspect if hamsters were permitted to participate, we'd be interrogated on every imaginable stereotype? "Please explain to the voters why your females eat their young." Or maybe this: "Why is it that hamsters look so grouchy and never smile?" Or how about this one? "Could you please respond to the allegations that you inflicted a nearly fatal bite to the jugular of a defenseless human?" (For the record, there has never been such an accusation.)
All these demeaning questions do is put a falsehood "into evidence," you could say.
And that's the whole point. The question serves as the answer and the response becomes irrelevant. And so are our votes when the time comes for us to choose between Tweedly-Dee and Tweedly-Dum.
A real debate is when you have just two or maybe three candidates seeking the same office and they discuss between themselves what their differences are. Let them question and criticize each other. Let them talk about what's important to them. Only in extreme cases, like when one simply won't let anybody else talk, is there any use for a referee (or so-called "moderator").
It would work something like the NFL - the D league contestants pair off until we're down to the finalists (play offs) and eventually there's one who comes out on top (gets the most votes within the party). And meanwhile the R league does the same. And the L (as in Libertarian) and G (as in Green) leagues likewise. So be it with hamsters. If there are other hamsters seeking the office, Diddley will be happy to hold a respectful public discussion of important policy matters with any of them.
But let's not have any more of those televised spectacles where contenders are lined up and asked how many bombs they're going drop on Iran, when they will finish the regime change in Venezuela, or how much "uppitiness" they will tolerate from China before sinking Chinese battleships in their own coastal waters. Rubbish like that puts the entire world in grave danger.
It's infuriating. If the debates teach us anything, it's how badly this country has gone wrong.
Monaham Squat, candidate for Vice President