DEBATE WINNER DECLARED!
A clear cut winner in the first Presidential Debate has been declared. It was neither Republican Mitt Romney nor Democrat Barack Obama.
It was the American people.
For the first time in 18 months of back-and-forth statements and claims, both candidates for the highest public office in the United States appeared on the same platform to explain directly to the American people their proposals and ideas for how they would run the country should they be the country’s president in 2013.
The nation has waited for a very long time to hear from these gentlemen on topics ranging from taxes to the role of government, from health care to the U.S. economy. And while the format of two minutes to respond to complex questions continues to leave much to be desired (people have been complaining about such an abbreviated format election after election), moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS gave both candidates as much leeway as the rules would allow to state their case and make their point.
People—especially those who call themselves “undecided”—thus had a real opportunity to hear more of what Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney had to say in direct interface with each other on the major points of domestic policy than they ever had before. They could “feel into” these leaders and get a real sense of who they believe is best qualified to lead their nation in the years just ahead.
The wonder of the debate is that it could happen at all. The New Spirituality as articulated in the Conversations with God series of books says that the political process is a nation’s spirituality demonstrated. If this is true, and if the word “spirituality” can be understood to mean a person’s and a nation’s highest core values, then the United States has again demonstrated that its highest core value is in harmony with the highest value of The New Spirituality…which is freedom.
High school political science students know that in still too many countries around the world such a level of freedom—the ability of a nation to present to its people opposing candidates for the country’s highest office and to let the people decide who they wish to elect—is unheard of. Yet if a nation’s people cannot select their leaders, how can the values they hold closest to them ever be reflected in their nation’s politics and policies?
Now there are those who will say that the American political system is distorted, warped, and subject to every kind of abuse. And there seems little question that it is, for sure, in need of major reform, particularly as it relates to money flow, a badly outdated electoral college process which continues to be used to determine the winner of the most important election every four years, an organizing structure which continues to stubbornly be limited largely to a two-party system, etc. Still, and with these badly needed reforms notwithstanding, we saw in the debates something that would be completely out of the question in places such as Syria, where people feel they must take up arms in the street in order to participate at any level in the political process.
Whatever the challenges, limitations, distortions and abuses of the system, at the end of the day people in the U.S.—and now, thankfully, more and more nations around the world—are able to declare with their votes the leader of their choice. The system is not perfect (indeed, it is far from it), but it is closer than any other process so far devised to empowering the highest spiritual values of a nation.
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