Debates: So much forgotten, so much distraction

by Christina Forrester 10/23/12 | 3:50 pm

It is really too bad that there is so much political divisiveness that seriously important things were overlooked in all the debates. The landscape is so full of propaganda that goes beyond lies into the realm of fairy-tales that the candidates were unable to respond to so many of the urgent issues, both domestic and in foreign policy, that are very real.

In the domestic debates, was homelessness mentioned even once? How many times were the working poor, the very poor, millions of impoverished children and the mentally ill mentioned? The inhumane and even criminal activity in the private prison industry, an emphasis on reform compared to punishment?  LGBT rights? Bullying? American Indian issues? Reforms on money in the election and political process?!

In foreign policy, what about human trafficking? Genocide? Millions of children and families still dying each year due to hunger, and the corruption in governments that is keeping this unacceptable moral crime ongoing? Education for children and women in Afghanistan and all the places where LACK of education creates a breeding ground for terrorist groups to capitalize on the fears and bitterness of young men (and women)? This is how we stop the perpetuating cycle of war and terror, however neither candidate commented or was asked about this.

Now, of course I am not naive enough to expect that all of these topics would be covered in three Presidential debates or be the focus of the campaigns. However, didn’t we used to dig at least a little deeper into a broad spectrum of serious topics that deserve attention and discussion? Weren’t the candidates held somewhat accountable to getting specific about their feelings and plans on a broad array of issues? Even the topic of gun violence, in a year that has seen so many unprecedented massacres, was left virtually untouched with one sound -bite answer from each candidate, and with Mitt Romney not even addressing the question in his answer.

I blame several factors for the lack of substantive discussion. The radical, far-fetched accusations brought against this President have bled into much of the mainstream of Republican talking points and focus – as is evident by how they surfaced time and again at the debates from Romney himself. So instead of being able to compare direct policy, which President Obama has shown he is more than willing to do, he is having to spend his time to discredit pure gossip and outright lies. This is what occurred time and again on the debate stages. And on social media, instead of discussing the above topics, we are actually arguing on whether the President is a Muslim, a vicious baby-killer, a socialist, wants to institute Sharia law, is the anti-Christ…you name it, we at CDA have heard it! The same old propaganda plays over and over, replacing real policy issues that we need to understand and hear. And forget the word “fact”…I guess suddenly the mainstream media no longer reports any facts, 1+1 does not = 2, and the only thing you can believe are unverified email forwards and rantings of a select radical few radio and TV personalities. It is for this reason that the Romney campaign has been allowed to tell outright lies and Romney himself jumped on the wild accusations in front of America to the President’s face (how many times did President Obama have to say “that is simply not true!”?) . Romney has continued to be outright dishonest on Obama’s record and on his own, as well as changing his position on almost a daily basis. What happened to accountability?

Does the Obama campaign also spin? Yes, of course. Unfortunately, that is to be expected of any political election. But there is a difference in spin, even slight exaggerations, and complete distortions of reality, over and over again. This kind of far-out rhetoric has detracted from real discussion and from accountability.  I remember being a little kid when Clinton was first elected and hearing a rumor at my church that he was going to shut down Christian schools and home-schooling….so I guess far-out rhetoric has been around awhile. However, surrounding this President and this election it has gone from being the fringe to invading the psyche of a good deal of the entire Republican party, or at least its representatives.

We can blame the media, which circulates and gives attention to the crazy and not enough to the needed. But we also need to blame ourselves – we as the corporate Body of Christ need to stick to the topics of discussion, values and concerns that we are called to. Let’s not give any more attention to the pervasive fantasy-land rhetoric, but instead speak the truth in love, without apology and without holding back. Let’s be honest and open about the issues that most concern us, speak up for the poor and voiceless and speak out against the bullying talking points. Don’t allow certain far Right arguments sway the discussion to IF we should even be concerned with the needs of the many in the first place, but instead keep it to how can we best serve them? The American people are not stupid, and they will see the difference, and vote their values on November 6th.

Titus 3:3-10 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.

Christina Forrester is the Executive Director and Founder of Christian Democrats of America, and an independent singer/songwriter ( who expresses her passion for social justice through music.  Twitter @Christinaof9