The Amazing Race: Bwock, bwock, bwock, bwock-bwock…

No, not that kind of chicken. It now appears that the first presidential debate will go forward as scheduled tonight. I don’t believe that John McCain was trying to dodge it out of fear, as some have stated. Instead, the kind of chicken that occurred here was a high-stakes game of it with Barack Obama, in which McCain appears to have been the one who blinked first. This may be more damaging than anything that could actually happen during the debate itself. The debates, after all, are largely useless. Let me clarify: They’re not so much totally useless as just highly inefficient. Undecided voters aren’t undecided based on the candidates’ positions on the issues. These positions, after all, have been out there for a year now, and issues-based voters long ago encountered them and made up their minds. Voters who operate principally from partisan identification knew even before then, since they were going to vote for anybody (or at least almost anybody) who had the requisite “R” or “D” after their name. The people left undecided now are people who decide based on emotional response, personal identification and perceived character. A debate can kind of showcase that, but is really a pretty poor medium for it. Too much question, answer, policy, position, blah, blah, blah for that. We have another medium much better suited for showing us what people are made of. Reality Television. I would like to make the modest proposal that, in lieu of all these debates, the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden teams compete against each other in The Amazing Race in weekly episodes over the next 6 weeks. There’s a showcase in which undecided voters can find out the things really important to them in making up their minds! Things like which team launches which bold and risky strategy to block the other, and who blinks first in response…

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Chris West is an independent lifestyle advocate!