Within and Without / Debatertainment

Politics are sometimes entertaining. They should, however, never be classified as entertainment.

As amusingly ridiculous as this election season has been, I think it’s time we, as a country, finally start taking this election seriously.

Two weeks ago, the first presidential debate of the 2016 election season between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump broadcasted to a Super Bowl sized audience across America.

The debate took over social media. You may have seen some of the passionate, opinionated Facebook posts from friends, families and high school acquaintances long-forgotten.

You may have been overrun by the seemingly-endless stream of hashtags, sound bytes and autotuned spoofs. You may have taken part in all of it. You may have ignored it entirely.

Either way, the debate happened and ignoring the fact that it was at best an opportunity for each nominee to throw clever insults at their opponent is not helpful.

This election has unfortunately been treated more like a reality show than the time-honored political process that it is, which seems appropriate given that one of the candidates used to be a reality television star.

Yes, it has been fun to watch the candidates wrap themselves up so tightly in scandals and slip ups of their own design.

Yes, it’s been hilarious to watch two of the most widely disliked candidates in history pander to the millennials and minorities, who refuse to accept them en mass.

But I realized something while watching that first presidential debate: This is not entertaining anymore.

We need to gather our wits about us and get ready to seriously consider who we want running our country and who we want as our representative to the rest of the world.

And for us to do that, the candidates need to tell us their positions on the issues instead of mutually chipping away at whatever tiny fraction of credibility they may have left.

Let us let the candidates know that we’re tired of the circus act. We are tired of being caught up in the childish and immature goading. We are tired of being part of a national reality show.

Let us all collectively agree that even though this election has been more interesting than your average election season, we are better off going back to the dry, boring, substantive debates of yore.

They may not be as entertaining, but should they really be in the first place?

When it comes to our elections, let’s demand to be well-informed. Let’s ignore the candidates’ attempts to distract us and start focusing on where they stand on the more important issues at hand.