The Accidental Debate

Fed-up and disappointed with the presidential and vice-presidential debates, and with all the muck, insults and accusations being hurled during the campaign rallies, I happened to be channel-surfing tonight, when I came across a “debate” that I had not seen advertised.

It was the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, being held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Senator John McCain, one of the two keynote speakers, had just started to address the guests.

I could not believe my ears. McCain was funny, smiling, and the audience was heartily and spontaneously laughing and applauding. Towards the end of his address, when he got serious, Senator McCain said the nicest things about his opponent, Senator Barack Obama. He congratulated him, he commended him, he praised him, he called him a decent man…he respected him.

Senator Barack Obama, the second keynote speaker, also gave an entertaining speech, made good fun of McCain—as McCain had done of Obama—and got quite a few laughs and applause. Just as McCain had done, towards the end of his speech Obama got serious and paid homage and respect to his opponent, especially thanked him for his service to and sacrifice for country.

Both presidential candidates called each other—perhaps not in these exact words—great Americans, patriots, and honorable men.

It was truly refreshing to see and hear the dirty politics take a rest, at least for a couple of hours.

Wouldn’t be great for America if these two men, and their running mates, and campaign staffs would remember these words tomorrow morning, and every morning for the next nineteen days?

Wouldn’t America be that much better off? Or was all this just an accident?

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist