When I watched Kennedy, lo these many years ago, there was some fire in the presentation, there was some dignity and statesmanship. There was some imagination and hope. Not so last night. Neither Romney nor Obama have it, though Mitt less than Barack.
Neither seemed able to see or spell out the real problems faced by the world today. There was no reference (that I heard) to sustainability, or to climate change. There was reference to the US debt being the greatest threat to the US global prestige, a comment that serves to show their failure to see that the economy is the wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, that the economy therefore cannot take precedence over the environment.
But the likely wholesale failure of the global environment, largely because of the US failure to curb its rapacious appetites, was not identified even remotely as the greater - if not the greatest, threat to the US empire. Rather the challenger suggested that it was more important to further inter-american trade, which can only exacerbate our pressure on Gaia's ability to survive.
And the second problem, almost as important, was the absence of any reference to the fundamentalist nature of current world politics. We, collectively since we cannot avoid being part of the world, have seen fundamental islam as the world threat to be addressed, ignoring the fact that our violent response stems from our own fundamental christianity.
There was of course, reference to the war on terror, that grossly misnamed figment of a Bush, who in its name has unleashed worse terror on some in this world. Yes, we need to bring those responsible for the crimes of 2001 to justice (not that anyone has of course, since slaughtering by drone is hardly justice), but we also need to show compassion. Such a christian virtue needs to be shown in other than a desire to bring democracy to the world. Our democracy is badly tarnished, and in fact at the moment is being shown to be sadly lacking in the ability to operate even in a christian world, let alone a muslim one.
The evidence of last night only serves to confirm the serious problems faced by the west. If Mitt and Barack are the best we have, we have lost the ability to drive this world. We have most likely surrendered our democracy to corporations, epitomised by Mitt whose business under his command has out-sourced so many north american jobs, and who now proposes that he knows how to generate millions of new american ones, most in small business about which he can know next to nothing.
Mitt will without doubt in my mind be the worse of the two. It is only to be hoped that the american voters (but a fraction of the american people) will agree with me.