CNN just announced that their planned December 17th debate, in Boston, for the Democratic Presidential aspirants has been cancelled “due to the earlier-than-usual Iowa Caucuses”. The 245th meeting of the “Let’s Not Tell Gravel that We’re Getting Together” Association was also to be sponsored by Politico.com and our own American Royal Family’s “John F. Kennedy Library”. I’m not so certain that CNN wasn’t having a little Pinocchio moment as they put the interruption off on the Hawkeye State, however.

I’m sure that it’s been discussed here before, but my radar points toward fatigue being the real reason for packing up and heading to the Caucuses early. I’m talking about debate fatigue, political campaign fatigue, Presidential fatigue, Democratic fatigue, Republican fatigue, Clinton fatigue, Oprah fatigue. I’m even sick of hearing about Socks the Cat and Barney the Dog and they may both be in Presidential pet heaven by now, as I haven’t heard from either of them in several years. I’m still sick of them, though, and who could hate Socks and Barney?

When I ran for Congress, I learned that there are two kinds of debates: The public debates that you have on TV about a range of subjects, and Forums, which are sponsored by special interests and usually cover a single subject like health care or civil rights. The first kind is the kind that incumbents hate and won’t grant to a linguistically superior challenger (yes Patrick… I’m talking to you…) but the second type; all candidates have to participate in them in order to keep the special interest populations happy. On a bright note, you usually get the questions ahead of time (except when the sponsor wants to keep the incumbent happy and then only he gets the questions… but that’s another story).

The problem that we’re having on a national level is that, although we all loath special interests having a major say in politics, we all fuel the fire with our cash and we now have a system where those special interest forums have taken on a greater significance. Typical of our fellow citizens, we live by the mantra that “interests are all bad, except for mine. We need to hear what Candidates believe about __________” (guns, health care, Hispanics, fill-in-your-own-blank). In doing so, we narrow the focus of the debates and broaden the number of times that we have to see everyone on our flickering screens.

What we also do is subtract from the common bond that we all share. What is important to the overall greatness of our nation should also be important to its disassembled segments. I believe in the importance of the individual but I believe that what once made this nation great was a unifying spirit. America belonged to us and, when one of us was messed with, all of us were affected.

“E Pluribus Unum”: From Many, One. That national motto, and the attitude behind it, fueled the industrial revolution, World War II, and the Civil Rights movement. Our Founding Fathers chose the words carefully as to remind us that our individualism and our national strength are forever linked, but the nation’s original bond has now been replaced by “Quid Lucrum Istic Mihi Est?”: What’s in it for me?

The young, hip, Youtube debate, the Univision debate, the AFL-CIO debate, the homosexual debate, the “Brown and Black Democratic Forum”; Maybe it wasn’t the timing of the Iowa Caucuses at all. Maybe… just maybe… we’re reaching the point where we turn off the TV and put on a DVD re-release of “Supertrain”. I’m a bit more than just a political junkie but I’ve had my fill. I suppose, if we’re sick of politics, we can always turn on Oprah… What’s that…? Ooops… Sorry.

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