As a decent upright citizen of the United States of America, it seemed decent enough to fulfill my civic duty by participating in the midterm elections. So I went to this congressional debate between former Congressman Tim Bishop and the other guy and, quite contrary of my ambitions, this petty bickerance between a couple of old white dudes left me feeling even less American than the time that I proclaimed pulled pork to be superior to pizza.

One’s saying a thing about the non-question that he was asked, then the other one calls the first one out on not answering the question. It got a little salty at points but if you were in it for the blood then it is important to understand that American politics just aren’t like that anymore.

The candidates mostly stood quietly while the other spoke, acting like a bunch of red-coat pansies. Where’s the Joe Bidenism? If your opponent speaks, you laugh at his dumb ass.

It was an utter disappointment. No bayonets through eyes; a couple of audience members would foam at the mouth when they heard something that they like; other than that there just wasn’t that good old American spinal fluid drained into the chalice of the supreme debater.

Then “something, something, something”—Bill Clinton, I don’t care for these kinds of politics which deal in matters of the actual world. Because there are rules. And I don’t like rules.

Then enter the great Oxford debate held by our prestigious Humanities Institute. Government team Professor Jonathan Sanders and Melissa McCall crossed swords with the opposition, Professor Dean Miller and Professor Michael Zweig, on the topic of whether or not Edward Snowden’s revelations were treasonous or patriotic. The floor was opened by Sanders, who is adorned with this screaming-loud tie (though he himself is screaming too) using Thoreau in jail as a punchline.

“What are you doing out.” Sanders quotes, eyes ablaze with fire.

His full statement shot into the mindful audience like a confetti shotgun; bursting nonsense all over the place. Not one person could explain a conclusive thing about what had just been said. It sounded fucking great, though. Sanders sat down in the panel of erectly-sat debaters—slumped in his seat like a grizzled old anarchist.

Dean Miller fuzzed out since I’ve last seen him but his composure was feugonomics, proving the man to be more than a bowtie. A live comprehensible satirist—his jive spit was filled with a fury which made me bang my tankard on the table, launching brew in the air like an active volcano from the 50th addition to the Union. “That gnarly oak needed the hot blood of patriots!” Miller shouts, fucking shouts, relating Snowden’s plight to good old Washington chopping down his cherry tree. This is America and the rage proves it.

Then the opposition team begins to challenge Sander’s coherence so he just starts yelling “war!” repeatedly. Just, “War! War! War!”

Miller’s team won, but it’s not like that. In the quality value of performance, these two may as well have been tossing fireballs at one another like Saruman and Gandalf, it was so exciting.

I walked out with a heart smoldering with patriotism, free food, free thought, free wine and one message to all the people who exist on this temporal plane that which is Stony Brook.

Go to the Humanities Institute’s Great Debates. They’re scheduled every semester. If you care for passion and America and the two combined: go.


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