So I watched the Republican debate this morning. Okay, that’s not true. I watched the first third and got bored. No doubt you’re thinking that I’m yet another symptom of a society with an attention span of about five seconds, but…wait what were we talking about again?
Oh, right, the candidates. And since I’m going to have to vote for one of these lovely people in the upcoming primary, I thought share give a rundown of my thoughts on what I saw of the debate at the Reagan Library.
Okay, first off, and I know this is picking a nit, but I really don’t care, THAT’S NOT AIR FORCE ONE! No, that doesn’t have anything to do with the candidates. It just bugs me when people get that wrong.
But here’s my main problem with the debate last night, and really, politics in general:
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the importance of focusing on one issue or another. But more and more what we’re getting from politicians from both sides of the aisle are sound bites, tiny little nuggets of noninformation with key buzzwords dropped in at predetermined intervals that sound like they’ve been recited in front of a mirror 500 times.
In fact that’s one of the reasons I shut the whole thing off. If I heard, “I created X jobs in [insert candidate’s home state here]” one more time I would have ended up throwing my computer across the room.
Here’s what I want to hear: Conviction. Principles. Ideas that come from the candidates’ foundation of beliefs.
And the only person who I heard any of that from was…no I’m afraid to say it. Because if I say it you’re going to think I’m one of them.
You know who they are. You have to have run into one of them at some point. Rabid young political activists who won’t shut up about…
There. I said it.
But in spite of whatever weirdness his followers might exude, he was one of the few candidates on the stage last night who didn’t look like he was reading from a script. He wasn’t saying what he thought people wanted to hear. He was saying what he believed.
Here was a guy who knew his position inside and out, who knew what he believed and why he believed it. And even though he got a disappointingly small number of questions, the answers he gave seemed real. Not like the prepolished factoids the other politicians belched up from somewhere deep within the bowels of their focus groups.
In the end I don’t think that Ron Paul will win the primary. I’m not even saying he should win the primary. But there’s a reason he won the debate in a landslide last night. (Aside from the fact that his followers are younger and more internet savvy than most of the other candidates I mean.)
He was honest. He spoke from his heart. And whether you agreed with him or not, you knew he was saying what he really thought.
And in a world where more and more of what we see on TV has been produced into perfection, realness is becoming a rare and valuable commodity.