The Debate to Nowhere

I watched a good portion of the “debate” last night.  In order to keep my attention I decided to tweet it (I’ll add my twitter feed to my blog roll today).  I have to say, I was unimpressed.  For the first 20 minutes or so it seemed like both candidates were doing nothing more than quoting their campaign ads (and they frequently reverted to that tactic as well).  It got so bad that at one point I wondered why they were even bothering to have a debate at all.  While “true believers” will likely go around touting their candidate’s victory – I saw the “debate” as an indictment of the shallowness of American Politics and the failure of the “Fourth Estate” to keep the campaigns from scripting every last detail of the evening.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a “free-press” that had the guts to tell these gilded images, “No, you show up, you sit down, we ask questions, you grill each other, and the country watches.  We’re not arguing about podium distances, timed responses, and what topics we’ll be covering – you want to be president and, frankly, life isn’t scripted so we’re not doing it for you.  If that’s not acceptable, great, you explain to the population you supposedly want to lead why you aren’t debating.”

Wouldn’t that be great?  It’ll never happen though, because the almighty dollar commands that these farces take place so that it might engorge itself on ad revenue.  Sigh.

In watching the debate last night I became aware, yet again, why Jesus “endorsed” none of the political expressions of his day.  Oh, he participated, and critiqued, and challenged – but in the end he refused to tell people what the “lesser of evils” was.  Rather, he reminded everyone that the Kingdom of God could not be claimed by any group.  I’d like to see more awareness of that today, and I’m seeing some of it with folks like my friend Shane.  Yet, I’m also seeing a dangerous trend of religious leaders publicly endorsing Obama (in addition to the usual endorsements of the Religious Right).  As soon as we endorse one political vision over another, I’m afraid we lose our ability to fulfill our prophetic calling – especially when the expressions of political vision are as detached from reality as World of Warcraft.