Forget, for a moment, which presidential candidate "wins" the debate on Monday night in Boca Raton, Fla.
Disregard, just for a second, who emerges higher in the polls, President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney. Instead, let's do something that deserves a special mention in any discussion about politics or social issues or the economy or the stock market or healthcare or Medicare or immigration or the banks or the Fed or the deficit or anything else.
Let's give three cheers for the REAL winner in all of this shouting, pointing, and counter-charging. The real winner is the United States. We Americans are the winners.
Think about it. Can you imagine what might happen in nations where repression is the rule if opposing candidates hurled mud at one another for months at a time? I can imagine, all right. One of the candidates would likely wind up discredited forever, exiled, jailed or dead. In our society, the loser is allowed to go on cable television for the rest of his life.
Three cheers for the American way of democracy.
The point is that our system of government works. We should take pride in this fact, even as we bury our heads in our collective hands on Monday night amid the usual vitriol that accompanies presidential and vice-presidential debates.
We can hope, against hope, for a civilized, constructive debate so that the undecided voters in the swing states and elsewhere can get a clearer picture of whose economic and social-agenda politics they admire the most.
The candidates themselves must be exhausted by now, from having to deliver the identical rah-rah speech on the stump, from Florida to California. I can tell you that I'm wiped out from watching them do this, day after day. But they will continue to attack and counterattack until Nov. 6 and we will watch them.
I just hope that the American people will step back from the fray for a moment and remember how lucky we all are to live in a country where this kind of behavior is permitted by the law. Democracy works, and we Americans are the big winners.
OK, I'll jump off my soapbox now and let you all get back to hurling mud at one another.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which is now available. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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