Katie woke me this morning asking, "Who won, Mama?"
I had tucked her in bed the night before, five minutes before her 8:00 bedtime so I'd have time to run downstairs and get the live stream of the presidential debate going on our old ass computer. The TVs in our house, all donated to us by concerned friends and family who think we don't consume enough television in our daily lives, are so old they don't have the digital receiver to broadcast TV. We had planned on getting a Roku box or some kind of converter box when we dropped cable over a year ago, but we never got around to it. Instead, we watch our favorite shows online. When they're not glitchy.
"Are you kidding me?!" I complained when the YouTube Politics site froze on me.
As I scrambled to find another site that was live steaming the debate, I heard Katie's footsteps . "What's wrong, Mama?" Her little Cindy Lou Who bedtime voice called out from the stairs.
"Oh, nothing, Sweetie. The computer froze and I'm trying to get the debate to come back on." I briefly took my eyes off the screen to glance in her direction and smile to let her know everything was fine. "Go back to bed."
"Oh, I thought your guy lost." She said, turning to climb back up the stairs.
"My guy?" I laughed, an overly dramatic ha! "I want Obama to win, but I wouldn't call him 'my guy'. I just like to watch the game. We won't know who wins until November when we vote, Sweetie. Tonight they're just going to debate. They're going to talk back and forth about how they want to make this country better."
"Oh yeah, I forgot." She replied, in the tone she gets when I over-explain things. She climbed the stairs and went back to bed.
Still, this morning, her first question for me was, "Who won, Mama?"
"Have you been thinking about it all night? Were you dreaming about the debate?" I laughed and Katie nodded her head and smiled.
"Well," I said, my voice first-of-the-morning froggy, "I'd say Mitt Romney won the debate last night, but that doesn't mean he's going to beat President Obama during the election. But he might. We'll have to wait and see."
Katie is still young and earnest and doesn't understand that it's all a bunch of pomp and circumstance. She just wants Mommy's guy to win. She doesn't understand how I can so passionately pay attention to politics while remaining so dispassionate and cynical in my analysis of it all.
I think it's because I feel so far removed from it. These two rich guys in power have less influence over my daily life than my poor, powerless child does. Katie is real life. Mitt and Barack are my entertainment. Like when I was a kid and my mom would watch the Tony Awards every year even though she'd not only never seen a Broadway show, she'd never left the Midwest and whoever won never seemed to have much effect on the drudgery of my mom's daily existence. She might stay up late to watch their song and dance routines, but she'd still have to get up early the next morning and go make a living at her boring job in her small little world. I similarly get caught up in the spectacle of politics, ignoring the fact that the guy I'm rooting for is still authorizing drone attacks on innocent brown people across the globe. War is too depressing to hold our attention for too long. Turn on the TV and get your mind off your troubles. Enjoy the fantasy and the fakery.
I'm surprised our country doesn't make the presidential contestants go on Dancing with the Stars. Instead, we have the conventions and the debates.
Being the pinko commie I am, I enjoy watching the commentary from PBS Newshour's Shields and Brooks the best, despite Romney's desire to defund it.
Watch the full debate here: