The Great Debate

LicolnAnother place and time, not too long ago, the candidate with a beard was deciding whether or not to debate the short, rotund candidate —-here he meets with his advisors….

“Well, sir, here is the offer. Multiple debates, one in each District. The rules are simple. You speak, he speaks. And so on.”

“Well, I just don’t know. What do you think?”

“The newspapers sponsoring these debates attack you all the time. Those two writers that call you all those names. Why give in to that kind of abuse? Take that Harper’s Weekly newspaper. Almost every issue you’re mercilessly lampooned, viciously libeled, and relentlessly satirized. It’s more than a candidate should be able to stand.”

[Strokes his beard, thinking…] “Well, I don’t know. Some good-natured responses and a decent sense of humor, I think can win the day. We do have better values, and the better positions on the issues, you know.”

“But, sir, the national humor mill has made you its favorite grist. They draw political cartoons of you as a country bumpkin with a wild thatch of uncombed hair, clad in ill-fitting pants. Splitting rails. They make fun of you dressing you in farmer’s old clothes, and attack you for being an ‘abolitionist’. They take everything about you and turn in to their advantage —just to sell newspapers. You have a down-to-earth style and earthy way with a comic tale. But your foes leap on such qualities as evidence of your coarseness and lack of dignity. One cartoon last issue featured you reacting to news of national tragedy by drawling, you saying, ‘…that reminds me of a funny story.’ They use such ugly caricatures, sir, and use humor to make your humor a political liability.”

“Thanks for your advice. But I am going to take the offer for the debates. We’ll tell them the truth about me, and the truth about my opponent, and throw in a smile and a good natured story every once in a while, and the people should see the light. Remember, when my irreverence was questioned by a minister, I said, ‘If I did not laugh, I should die.’ That others laugh at me as well as with me bother me little, if at all.”
The Great Debate