It’s Not All Mary Poppins

This might explain it

I hate watching political debates. Loathe it. Political debates make me endlessly miserable.

Not because I think they’re all fakes and crooks, because I don’t. I think most of them honestly want to do their best by their country. Not because I think they’re liars, though it’s pretty damned obvious that they’re selective in their choice of facts, and a certain amount of (deliberate? inadvertent?) fudging goes on. It bugs me that never once in a debate do you hear someone say, “You know, that’s a good point. Now, I think you need to put more emphasis on this, or you’ve overlooked that, but that one point there? Nicely put!”

(You’re laughing? Why? Why? Why the hell not? Why must debate be entirely about undermining the other guy? How does it weaken you to admit the other guy’s good idea — and then improve it?)

But the real reason that I hate debates, I realized earlier today, is that they’re so much like my daily life… except I can’t fix it. When I see one person shouting over top of the other one (and may I here note that in my admittedly restricted experience, Canadian debates are way worse than American for this) The Daycare Lady in me is desperate to start issuing edicts: “Play fair! Take turns! No name-calling! Stop shouting!”

There is no fun at all in helplessly watching adults employ the same conflict-resolution “strategies” — shouting, interrupting, rudeness — that I spend my life trying to train out of toddlers. No fun at all.

Nor do I learn anything from their aggressive verbiage… except that maybe they all need remedial time with their Daycare Lady. Sigh.

January 3, 2012 - Posted by | aggression, manners | ,


  1. You know what’s really sad? The NDP leadership debates so far have been downright civil – and the media (especially the right-leaning media) has mocked and derided all concerned… because the candidates are being too polite and giving each other credit for good points well made.


    Oh, good lord. If that’s the attitude, then we’re getting what we deserve, aren’t we? Except, NOT ME! *I* don’t deserve that!!! Debates, particularly leadership debates, where everyone is of the same party — and thus ON THE SAME TEAM, people — should be allowed to be civil. I suppose it’s too much to suggest that we go so far as to actively encourage civility. Gah, gah, gah!

    (In fairness, I’m quite sure that if the Conservatives were having debates which were uncommonly civil, it would probably be the left-leaning media doing the bulk of the mocking. Because whatever the other guy does is mock-worthy, right? Even when it’s exactly what your guy is doing. Sigh…)

    I should start watching the NDP debates, then, just to make a statement, and encourage the sort of debate I’d actually care to observe.

    Comment by Hannah | January 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. I agree with you 100%.

    Comment by Suzanne Lucas | January 4, 2012 | Reply

  3. Amen to that. How did all this rudeness become the norm? Internet anonymity? Talk radio? Telemarketing?

    A debate hosted by The Daycare Lady would be awesome. How I’d love to see some of those naughty candidates sitting on the ‘quiet step’ on national TV. 😉

    Comment by katkins | January 4, 2012 | Reply

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