My Debate Prep Involves Whisky

"We are sure to hear the buzzwords that have made our national eyes roll every time some self-described pundit uses them. I'm not by nature a violent man, but I find my grandfather's antique Smith & Wesson mighty tempting when one of them talks about the "Weaponization" of anything."

My Debate Prep Involves Whisky

Well boys and girls, here we sit just a couple of days away from a presidential debate, and there are two things people worry about. Republicans, if there really is such a benign thing now, worry that the Trumpster will be physically unable to shut his pie hole for more than seconds at a time. My bet is even with his mic cut, we'll hear him faintly from across the room. Democrats will literally hold their collective breath for a solid hour hoping President Gramps doesn't topple, speak in tones too quiet for a microphone to pick up, or simply pull a McConnell and stare at Jake Tapper for a full minute.

One thing is certain, both will try for some unique moment that will be remembered like Lloyd Bentsen...

Ouch. Then there was Ronald Reagan addressing the subject we all are worried about now. Is this guy too old for the job?

OK, both were prepared one-liners, but they are remembered, which is why they were prepared in the first place.

When I was a high school and college debater, we hated opponents who brought visual aids to the debate like bad prop-comics. I recall watching one of my debate idols at the University of Houston dismantle point-by-point the beautiful poster his opponents made to illustrate their argument. He walked over to the easel they had put up and on which was placed this perfectly printed placard, went down it argument by argument, and when he announced that all their assertions had been thoroughly debunked, proceeded to pick up the poster and tear it in half. As he calmly walked back to his team's table, they stared wide-eyed at the destruction of their beloved prop.

It's as though you took away Carrot Top's bottle of seltzer or something...

Well, at the so-called "Faith and Freedom" conference, Donald Trump unleashed his inner prop comic by whipping out a couple of little props of his own.

Now, the last time he whipped out a small prop, Stormy Daniels apparently laughed, but that aside, given his predilection for Tic-Tacs as evidenced in the Access Hollywood tape, was it wise to remind folks of that? And, yes, inflation is indeed a problem. I mean, Bibles are like $60 now...

Just when you think Trump can't get any weirder … he launches his own  version of the Bible | Zoe Williams | The Guardian

Meanwhile, Team Biden is just hoping to get through this thing without one of these...

And Mayorkas is standing right there on the right of the screen. As the official arrow-catcher for the administration's immigration policy, the least you could do is remember his name.

But we are sure to hear the buzzwords that have made our national eyes roll every time some self-described pundit uses them. I'm not by nature a violent man, but I find my grandfather's antique Smith & Wesson mighty tempting when one of them talks about the "Weaponization" of anything. Please, dear Lord, strike down anyone using this tiresome word again so I don't have to go full Elvis on my TV.

We can also add the latest iteration, "Lawfare," some sort of bastardized hybrid of Law and Warfare.

The word "Patriot" is now apparently solely the province of Republicans and is attached to anything you want the faithful to buy. From cell phone services (no, really) to prepared meals for the liberal apocalypse. One company describes itself this way...

Patriot Industries is the only American Owned & Operated Family Business producing the full lines of Rigid Aluminum and Rigid Stainless Steel Conduit, Nipples, Elbows, and Couplings, as well as EMT Elbows and GRC Nipples, and Elbows.

Now, look, I'm all in on nipples and elbows, but I had never associated them with love of country.

Flying the flag! Busty Jessica Simpson gets patriotic as she wears red and  white striped bikini for Instagram selfie | Blog sportness

Well, OK, except for Jessica Simpson.

Writer Annie Renau put it well...

A patriot is someone who loves their country and is willing to defend it. A patriot is not someone who terrorizes their own seat of government because they reject reality and don't like the way the voting went. A patriot doesn't defend an attack on our Capitol or the attempted overturning of an election. A patriot doesn't fly the flag of a defeated country that fought with the United States over the right to enslave Black people and nearly split the nation in two. A patriot doesn't try to keep Americans they disagree with or don't like from voting. A patriot doesn't accuse half of their fellow Americans of being demonic pedophiles. If the people who do any or all of those things are the ones calling themselves patriots, then the word is useless.

Frankly, I can't put it any better.

We will also hear much ado about fascists, socialists, or any combination of those words. They are lately bandied about as though the speakers had the faintest idea of their meaning. They have been so corrupted as to make the Postal Service seem Stalinist. And make no mistake, you can add Social Security and Medicare into the mix. Just pitch it under the rubric of "Big Government-Bad."

States rights or "leave it up to the states" are hallmarks of another era. You know, the one before the Civil Rights Act? School Choice, which is the holy grail of Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick, or more accurately, the billionaires who shovel wheelbarrows full of campaign cash at them, is really about privatizing public schools and using your tax dollars for it. Will a voucher make an elite private school affordable for a kid in Houston's 5th Ward? Hell no, he'll go to the same school he attended before, only it will have a little less money to work with.

That is unless he goes to an unaccredited pop-up private school whose only purpose is to make money off this tax diversion scheme.

There will probably be talk from both candidates about "activist judges." That means different things to different people. For some, it's the court that shot down Roe v Wade. For others, it's the court that originally put it in place. Which is another way to say, it means nothing.

Words like Elites, Working-Class, and Real Americans have lost all meaning today. Oh, there are indeed elites and working-class folks. But it has come to mean anyone you don't like, or alternatively, want to be identified with.

You will hear some folks referred to as "Career Politicians." And yes some folks stay at it too long, or for the wrong reasons. But it also can mean experience and expertise. I don't know about you, but I prefer going to a career physician.

I'd like to retire all these words, along with those borrowed from the business world. To whit...

1.  Bandwidth

2.  Pivot

3.  Take It Offline

4.  Touch Base

 5.  Circle Back

 6.  Low-Hanging Fruit

 7.  Think Outside the Box

Now, we are more likely to hear these irksome utterances from the moderators, and I urge them with utmost sincerity to put a sock in it, for all of us. Unless you will watch the debate with a bottle of Jameson's ready to down a shot whenever one of these words is used.

In that case, at least by the end these two might make sense to you.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.