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The Great Debate

Posted Thursday, October 25, 2012, at 12:49 PM

Moderator: Gentlemen, welcome to our forum this evening. Our first question comes from Joey Brown of Moline, Illinois. Joey asks, "Do either of you believe in Santa Clause?" Candidate No. 1, you won the coin toss, so you get to respond first.

Candidate No. 1: Well, Joey, if you look back over the past four years, you'll see that my opponent has, time-after-time-after-time, denied the existence of Santa Clause. Just last week, in fact, during a meet-and-greet in upstate New York, my opponent categorically dismissed the notion that a right jolly old elf could climb down so many chimneys in one night. So I ask my opponent, what are you trying to tell the youngsters of this great nations, those who will eventually be of voting age and who will no doubt remember the stance taken by you and your party on this very important issue?

Candidate No. 2: Time's up!

Moderator: Yes, your time is up, Candidate No. 1. Please continue with your response, Candidate No. 2.

Candidate No. 2: Thank you, Madame Moderator. (To audience) Listen -- we all know that's not what I said. That's not what I said. That is not true. What I said was that it is highly unlikely ... that a fat little man ... with a long-stemmed pipe ... wearing a red velvet suit ... whose round little belly shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly ... that it is highly unlikely -- not impossible -- for that man to climb down chimneys around the world and get it done all in one night. That's what I said.

Moderator: Yes, that is what you said.

Candidate No. 1: Let me get this straight. For the record -- did you or did you not say it would be impossible for this person, known lovingly to all the world as Santa, to do what tradition says he does? Did you or did you not in fact say that no such person could even exist? For the record. Isn't that what you said?

Candidate No. 2: No ... that's not what I said. That's not what I said. Listen ... We are both highly educated men ... When we finished college you went into the private sector and ... I went into a more ... benevolent ... sector of our society. I am a firm believer ... in allowing people ... to believe what they want to believe ... as long as that belief doesn't do harm to their fellow man. When we start teaching our kids that it's ok to be short and fat ... and to smoke long-stemmed pipes ... and to eat cookies and milk at every stop along your journey ... how many people will suffer ... where will it end?

Moderator: That's a good point.

Candidate No. 1: (To moderator) If I may.

Moderator: Yes. Please proceed.

Candidate No. 1: (To audience) Candidate No. 2 and I agree that, yes, we are both very educated men. So the question should be rather easy to answer. (To Candidate No. 2) Did you or did you not deny not only the feasibility, but the very the existence of Santa Clause?

Moderator: Gentlemen, we need to move on to our next topic.

Candidate No. 1: But he hasn't answered the question.

Candidate No. 2: Yes, let's move on.

Moderator: OK. For our second question -- and this one goes to you first Candidate No. 2 -- comes from Roxy Renaldi from Brooklyn, New York. Roxy asks "Do reindeer really know how to fly?"

Candidate No. 2: Where should I begin? Roxy ... If one believes that ... old fat guys can climb down chimneys ... chimneys in Brooklyn or Chicago or Atlanta or Charlotte ... places where hard working folks work day-in and day-out to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables ... then one might also believe that it is entirely possible for reindeer to fly.

Candidate No. 1: Excuse me, but it sounds to me like you're leaving out the entire population west of the Mississippi River. Do you not consider people west of the Mississippi hard working Americans?

Moderator: Candidate No. 1, that is off topic. Let him finish. I'll give you time to respond.

And so this is how we select our leaders?

Good grief!

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Bob Stewart is pastor of Union Baptist Church. His long-running column ranges in topic from matters of faith to observations about life in Saline County, politics and the sights to see in travels throughout America.
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