How do you see it?

Published 1:18 pm Saturday, June 29, 2024

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More than once, I have used a topic from a Sunday sermon to write my own weekly column.  It is usually not that I am rephrasing a sermon as much as I capture a thought and run with it in another direction.  This is one of those occasions.

“How do you see it?”.  It seems like an innocent question.  It is an invitation to ask people to listen to my own opinion, but at the same time to ask them to respond with their own thoughts and beliefs.

In a perfect world, their response would be “I see it this way”, followed by their own thoughts to the question at hand.  They heard me out and, in return, I listened to their response.   This is how I learned to love debating in my early years.  The back and forth was part of the process.

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There was no more shame in agreeing with your opponent’s position at the end of the debate than losing a ball game against a more talented opponent.  Sometimes the best debater wins.   

This week we will see our presidential candidates face off in a debate.  It will be unusual in that there will be no audience.   The microphones will be muted while the opponent speaks.  The big unknown is what questions will be asked, but hopefully they will reflect what is on the country’s mind.  My hope is we get to hear each candidate’s vision for the future of our country.   

We can be certain that the talking heads and spin doctors will say who won and lost.  The expectation game is already underway.  Who did better or worse than expected?  That is who truly won, but is it?

I get more texts and emails than I can manage trying to influence my own thoughts before the first question is asked.  After the final gavel, I will receive even more attempts to tell me what I really saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.  The post-debate reporting will seem to compare two different events.   Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?

I view this presidential debate as one of the most important in our country’s history, though few have actually influenced the final outcome.  It is the earliest debate in our nation’s history and seldom, if ever, have we been more divided.   

If you are not interested in what these two men have to say about being the most powerful position on the face of the earth, then fine.  Do not watch.  If you will vote for one party or the other despite anything that is said, then fine.  Do not watch.

However, if you are part of the very small portion of Americans that do not know how you will cast your vote then watch the debate with an open mind.

When it is over, if you cannot have this discussion with anyone else, then just ask yourself this question.  “How do you see it?”  Then answer the question to yourself as if you had your answered your most valued friend by saying “I see it this way”.

If you are honest with yourself, your answer will decide our next president.  Despite all the hype, it really is up to you.