When I was in high school I took debate during my junior and senior years. I did well at it, went to state, and won awards at quite a few tournaments. My debate experience is arguably the most helpful thing I did in high school. It made it easy for me to talk in front of crowds, it made me confident of my own thinking, and I think it probably helped make me a little pushy. It also got me my first job without even having to apply–the dean of the college heard me ask a question at a presentation, sought me out, and offered me the job of assistant editor for the yearbook.
It’s weird to think that I was debating at the same time that Karl Rove was, and in the same state. I wonder if I ever debated him? If so, I suspect he was one of those slick, smarmy guys I hated to debate back in those days. He went to East High, and I definitely went there for several debates.
I was thinking about how I was always “judged” during the debate–and there was always a winning team and a losing team. It was a little mystifying to me, and sometimes I was sure we had won–and didn’t, and sometimes just the opposite. It wasn’t like being in cross country where the first person across the line was definitely the winner. Anyway, I thought about this as I have watched the presidential debates. The problem is, that I cannot be neutral no matter how hard I try. I begin by saying things to myself like, “OK, pretend you’re a clean slate and you don’t already violentlly dislike McCain and admire Obama. Pretend like you don’t know which one went to Harvard and which one graduated near the bottom of his class.” It works only for about 5 minutes, and then I’m back to being totally convinced that Obama is winning every point and shocked that there are people who thought McCain won.
What I can’t understand is this: How could someone be undecided at this point? The differences between the candidates are REALLY clear. Are those people on the panel REALLY undecided or do they just like the attention they are getting and know that it will disappear as soon as they announce their choice?


2 responses to “Debating

  1. I feel exactly the same way as you. McCain looks and sounds like a lunatic to me. Remember when I used to try to get the veins in my neck to pop out as much as possible. Well, I stopped doing that when I realized that it could start to hurt after a while, my neck could get a cramp, and people might think that I’m constipated.

  2. I agree that people might say they’re undecided at this point, but they’re really leaning one way or the other.
    More baffling to me than people thinking McCain won the debate is people who think Palin beat Biden! In WHAT universe?, I want to ask. Sarah Palin’s alternate reality?

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