America is divided. Partisanship has fractured the nation, immobilizing our government and rendering any meaningful discussion fruitless and a wasted effort. However, from the ashes of cooperation and mutual self interest, a new hope has arisen. A new age is dawning in American politics, if only we seize the light of change before the reactionaries of the past snuff it out in the name of the status quo.
I’m speaking of course of the Oct. 11 vice presidential debate, held between Vice President Joseph “Red Bull is Awesome” Biden and vice presidential candidate Paul “Numbers are Hard” Ryan. Moderated by ABC’s Martha “Say Frosty” Raddatz, the three forces combined created one of the most compelling, lively and productive debates held since before World War II.
An Associated Press article began, “In a spirited debate that laid out stark choices, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan teed up pointed arguments on the economy, social policy and America’s place in the world that President Barack Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney now will drive forward into the campaign’s final stretch.”
Having delivered rhetoric worthy of a Pulitzer, I will now defend my statements. This debate was so groundbreaking for three reasons. First, Biden had his brain infused with Red Bull and a rhetoric textbook, bringing an energy and aggressiveness that, if the entire Democratic Party shared, would invigorate politics with renewed energy and passion.
Countering the vice president was Ryan, who, as stated in the AP article, “came back at the vice president with harsh talking points, a flurry of statistics and a sharp economic warning: In another Obama term, he said, ‘Watch out, middle class, the tax bill’s coming to you.’”
Of course, any debate held between two aggressive, assertive, passionate people will inevitably devolve into a “Yo mamma” fight without someone or something to keep the debaters in line. That’s where Raddatz came in. As noted by a separate AP article, her forceful nature and poignant insistence on keeping the debate flowing and not devolving into incessant bickering is what not only made the debate meaningful, it is quite possibly the main reason the debate could prove so pivotal to the future of U.S. American politics.
A strong personality and will is needed in politics to rein in the bickering and fracturing that has rendered it useless. This personality need not render debate and politics dull and passive, as clearly indicated by the debate. The question then is where the blazes will this force come from. Sadly, I don’t have an answer; I can’t do everything, after all.
Theoretically, politics has this force already, whether on the Congressional floor or in a debate. It’s not enough, though. Mediation is pointless without passionate debate, and passionate debate cannot be curtailed without strong mediation that keeps that passion focused on the point at hand. Both are vital to bringing an end to the stagnation of our government. Only through renewed passion and vigor can the wall of partisanship be shattered. Only through strong mediation can the bickering and idiocy of our government be brought to heel and sharpened into a tool of progress and change. Together, these two forces will create a new era of discussion; an era founded on passion, strength and determination for a better tomorrow.
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