Right around the time of The Debates, people everywhere, school-age kids to geezers, conservatives to liberals, transform into seasoned political geniuses.
I’ve seen it happen. Like a full moon to a werewolf, there’s something about watching a Presidential Debate that reprograms people. Friends who have never thrown an honest punch morph into these military masterminds, with specialties in homeland security and war. It just clicks, the same way people inexplicably start caring about curling during the Olympics.
Acquaintances who never seemed to fully shake a cold they contracted back in kindergarten, like magic, “get” healthcare.
That one buddy who’s been divorced three times now has foreign policy all figured out.
And couples that can’t balance a checkbook all of a sudden understand the complexities of the budget deficit and, better yet, how to put in a cork in it.
But the best part? Everybody is more than willing to share their newfound wealth of knowledge and experience with you, on social media platforms and during family dinners.
Unfortunately, this cosmic shift doesn’t appear to affect those actually doing the debating, but that’s why I’m here, to bring the issue to light. (Public servants come in all shapes and styles, you know — in this case, hyper-athletically toned and debonair.)
But the real question we should be asking is, What makes this happen?
Are we getting more sleep in the shorter days of fall? Does it have something to do with radioactive broadcast waves? Could it be that a sci-fi movie-type atmospheric anomaly decreases the gravitational force from the moon every four years in October — coincidentally on the night of the first Debate — putting less pressure on our brains and allowing us to tap into the extra 90% of our mind’s potential we usually can’t access?
All perfectly logical ideas, but no.
My theory: It has nothing to do with our TVs, or that healthy debate gets people thinking, thereby raising the level of discourse, or any of that nonsense.
It’s got to be the moderator.
Clearly, there’s something supernatural in this position. Just take a look in the eyes of PBS' Jim Lehrer in the first debate and tell me there isn’t some kind of voodoo hypnotics going on there.
So that's settled.
But it’s also gotten me wondering if this sort of thing can’t be extended to other avenues to be exploited for my own personal gain. If I could just schedule a national debate on baseball, for instance, then screen it only to the New York Mets, in theory the team should become experts on the subject, and then I’d get to see them actually win a World Series.
The pre-debate process is simple but has to be followed to a T, or else the moderator will have no power. Think how Peter Pan can’t fly without happy thoughts.
1) Get two parties — any two parties — and stuff them inside suits with power ties (if suits are not available, American flag pins can be worn in lieu of, although results are not guaranteed).
2) Before your arguers take their podiums, ensure that they have spent ample time making light banter while shaking hands and smiling furiously at one another. This position should be held for what feels like far too long. Remember: They’re best friends.
3) Flip a coin to see who gets to talk first. This isn’t part of the process, but it’s a fun little game to help lighten the mood, so give it a try!
4) Thank your sponsors.
5) Hire a pro wrestling announcer to kick off the event with a, “LLLLLLET’S GET RRRRREADY TO RRRRRRUMBLEEEEEEE!”
Keep in mind: This is all just a prototype, so I could be wrong about everything. Maybe the suits are unnecessary. Maybe I can be my own moderator then skip right to the voodoo and hypnotics part, which I’d obviously then have to reassess for ways to exploit for my own personal gain.
How could anything possibly go wrong?
You have two minutes to answer.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR