Editorial Showdown

All the parking lot closings, ‘Cane card hole-punching and lanyard-wearing has come down to a 90-minute showdown tonight at the Convocation Center.

Only time will tell whether the skyrocketing costs and undeniable hassles will be worth it. For now, we can only ask one thing: Dazzle us, gentlemen.

Impress us with honest, straightforward answers. Amaze us with innovative responses. Be witty. Make us laugh. And, above all, say what we need hear.

We need you to tell us what will happen in Iraq in the future. We’re uncertain as to what will change and what will stay the same, and this is the time to tell us. Furthermore, we need to know whether what happened in Iraq will be repeated elsewhere. Are other countries targeted or considered hot spots? If so, which ones and why? How will the U.S. mend its diplomatic relations with other countries?

Your points at the Debate, however, shouldn’t focus entirely on Iraq. Latin America has been largely ignored in the past few years. Address the issues concerning this unstable, neighboring region.

In the 2000 presidential election, before 9/11, we may have overlooked the importance of the American president’s foreign policy. Now, we know what’s at stake.

Most importantly, we want concrete details. You often underestimate your audience, thinking we don’t have the attention span to understand what you’re saying. This, along with the format of the event, turns the Debate into a tedious press conference instead of a discussion on the election issues. Give us a little credit, and explain your points thoroughly so that your message gets through.

Don’t bore us by rehashing bland campaign slogans that we’ve heard for the past six months. Most of what we’ve retained from your ads has been “I’m [insert name here], and I approved this message.” Gentlemen, this is not enough. Surprise us by making your statements real and relevant, and steer clear of the National Guard, Vietnam and the Swift Boat Veterans. We’ve had enough of that.

And, although the topic of the Debate is foreign policy, hook us with issues that concern us. Remind us why we should care about what have you say and why we ought to be interested in politics. Much too often, college-age students are indifferent to candidates and their positions, because we find that politicians are too similar or, frankly, disconnected with the world outside of Washington, D.C. Show us that you know what our concerns are, and speak directly to us.

If nothing else, you will have a keen university audience watching the Debate at our Rathskeller, and we will all be listening.