Well, I watched bits and pieces of the Republican and Democratic debate last night. The parts I saw looked more like shouting matches with candidates interrupting each other, insulting each other, etc. I came away discouraged and not really too excited, to say the least, about any candidate. Not surprisingly, I didn't hear a lot of facts. Lots of noise. Then the pundits "interpreting" for us, the people of America, with no memory or sense of history.
This morning, I woke up wondering what the debate would have been like had they been conducted in the manner of Friends (Quakers).
I imagined the candidates, in a circle, in worshipful silence to start. Then, out of the silence, when the Spirit moved them, they would speak. They would share the truth about what is really in their hearts. They would not try to attack or one up each other. If things got heated, the moderator would do what a good clerk would do, and call for a period of silence and prayer in an effort to get to clarity on, say, a viable energy policy, or withdrawal from Iraq, or the environment, or the economy. The candidates would be mindful of their words, and not repeat what someone else said, only louder. The debate would close with a period of silence. Not even the pundits could talk. Or the audience applaud. Then the people who vote would hear something other than yelling and insults and lies. The presidential vote would be done more carefully.
I know it's just a fantasy. But if one imagines something, that's the first step towards actualization. And, I hasten to add, the Quaker way is not the only way to a mindful, compassionate, hopeful discussion. Just a few thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.......