My wife and I watched the latter part of the presidential debate last night; and I realized why I have not cared much for either candidate (although I am sure I will be voting for the candidate who is pro-life first). It came after some responses from those analyzing the debate immediately afterwards. The commentators brought attention to McCain’s comment referring to Obama as “that one.” All four of the people said that it was “childish” and “uncalled for.”

Now I am not going to argue whether it was right or not (I’m sure many pundits will be working on that today). What I do want to draw attention to is what has bristled me for some time. McCain’s statement brought in an element of human-ness. That is, he got fired up at that point and was pointing fingers and showed that he was emotionally committed to his position. So much of the irenic debate was merely robotic. The only other time (and again, I am referring to the latter part) the candidates looked like they had emotions was regarding the questions on Pakistan. Obama asked if he could give a response and McCain wanted to give his response.

Other than that I found myself yearning for a candidate that had blood pulsing through their veins, not cold water. I want to see a candidate that has veins popping from his head. I want to see the tension in the room rise. I want to see eyes flare up. In a word, I want to see humans. 

So much of these interactions are plastic rhetoric and a “he said, “she said.” I find it hard to follow these candidates’ jargon that, it seems, only those who have been spending hours studying issues can follow. Even then it is convoluted. Give me a candidate who speaks clearly and wants people to understand him. Don’t give me a politician who tries to flower all his language so as not to be tacked down by the opponent. 

I fear that much of the reaction is due to our cowardly society. We seem to want truth, but when people speak plainly, we call then narrow-minded. I was amazed that one of the undecided folk actually said he had made up his mind from this debate. I don’t see how he could. I would love to see candidates speak candidly – rather than saying they speak candidly. Come on, let’s get some people fired up about issues. Let’s see people care about their positions.

One last comment I want to make about the “that one” statement reflects a good point my wife made. The commentators were chiding McCain for making a statement that was “immature.” They made it sound like they could not accept a candidate who said something like that. My wife drew attention to the fact that we all say hard things. We can’t expect a candidate to be perfect, but human. It must make us feel good inside to be able to point out error in a public figure so long as we don’t have to evaluate what we see in the mirror.