I haven’t been this nervous since seventh grade, when as captain of my debating team, I had to go before the school. I’m sure I feigned a sore throat that morning in an effort to stay home, and I’m sure my mother made me go. It was too important, something like “The Cuban Missile Crisis,” and I know I felt the weight of the world riding on my performance.
Now here I am, hours before the second presidential debate, beside myself again. And I have every confidence in my candidate. It’s not that. It’s that with so much at stake, the content of this debate is going to be shaped by people who cannot make up their minds.
Really? As a nation with one of the most critically important decisions to make, we fill the hall with undecideds? When was the last time you had an important decision to make? Did you call upon undecided people for help?
That’s what it’s like out there right now. All the emphasis is on the undecided or mixed-up states. What if you are not in a mixed up state? What if you are not a mixed up voter? We hardly matter anymore. Many of us have a pretty good idea of what we envision for our country, and suddenly, this election is no longer in our hands.
I have to get going…. the stage is all set at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I can feel my old familiar bellyache, or was it a sore throat? The candidates tonight will be playing to a selected group of eighty-two uncommitted voters seated on stage, while the “general audience” sits up on rafters, in the cheap seats, in the dark. The candidates have been coached not to make eye contact with the general audience. It’s much like a microcosm of society right now. So many of us with little to do for the next three weeks but hang here in the dark, and check the daily tracking polls morning, noon and night.