It’s going to be on all the networks, so nothing else will be on, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be squaring off against President Barack Obama at the University of Denver in a debate.
I consider political debates like this the Brussels sprouts of the political season. Brussels sprouts are insanely good for you, loaded with all kinds of good vitamins and are low in sodium and fat. As for the debates, it’s important to model being engaged, thoughtful, voting citizens. It’s important to hear what both sides have to say, no matter which side you’re on.
But let’s be real. Brussels sprouts taste really awful, and the debates (at least in past elections) seem to be no less miserable to watch. These are not real debates. They are carefully orchestrated events. And I generally get extremely worked up listening to the Other Guy (and it doesn’t matter which Other Guy I mean – we all have one). Blech!
So how do you resolve this and still model the good behavior? I’m not sure. Eating dinner with your kids can help, as that’s the perfect forum to discuss what’s going on in politics and why you support one candidate or another. Certainly sharing the campaign materials with your kids and talking about why you lean one way or another is important, too.
Finally, listening to your kids and their opinions, especially when they don’t match yours, is the most important part of all. You can get your own family debate going, insisting that your kids find the materials that support their ideas and showing them the materials that support yours. Keep it respectful – no name calling or put downs – and you will have engaged, thoughtful good citizens. Who might actually want to watch the debates.
But if you tell me they eat their Brussels sprouts, I’ll have a hard time believing you.