Watch the debate or stare down a hurricane? You decide

How many of us are dreading the impending arrival of tonight’s presidential debate and wishing we were down in Florida or Georgia dealing with the flooded aftermath of Hurricane Matthew instead?

The 2016 presidential campaign has been a nonstop barrage of verbal attacks and assorted scandals that have made this the most distasteful one in memory. Every time you turn on the television or open up a newspaper, there’s a bombshell making one candidate look bad and the other candidate cackle with glee. It’s the reason why the majority of Americans are not really wanting either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be our country’s next leader.

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The Democratic and Republican candidates face off again in their second debate. Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could emerge as a palatable choice for president is dubious. (Images courtesy The Associated Press)

I watched the first debate and hoped, along with countless others, that it would help to determine who might be the – I don’t want to say the best, but maybe the least stinky – choice to lead America for the next four years. The result was best summed up by one of my high school teachers, that it was 90 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

It started out halfway decent. I was pleasantly surprised when Trump and Clinton shook hands at the beginning and moved toward their respective podiums. Part of me was expecting one of them to take a glove holding a brick and challenge the other to a duel of a different kind. Yes, it would have taken American politics back about 200 years and reminded us of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but considering the verbal shrapnel that has been flying for over a year, it would not have been unexpected.

Unfortunately, the cordiality ended with that handshake. What followed were character assassinations, constant interruptions from both candidates and, in the end, a repeat of campaign slogans that, fortunately, did not include the phrase “basket of deplorables.” It has been two weeks since that debate, and I honestly can’t remember one policy issue that was fleshed out to my satisfaction that would give me a reason to vote for – or against – a candidate.

Tonight’s debate only looks to get worse. Trump is vowing to take the gloves off this time, and he plans to remind America of Bill Clinton’s history with other women who were not his wife. Meanwhile, he’s dealing with the backlash from both parties about his comments about what he’s done with female celebrities that include a crude feline reference, as well as lost Republican endorsements and calls from many newspapers, including the Deseret News in conservative Utah, for him to resign.

I’m sitting here on Sunday morning wondering if I should really bother watching. Part of me holds out hope that there might be a breakthrough, something that gives us a chance to decide whether we vote red or blue in this election. Then there’s the pragmatic me, reminding myself that I have to be awake at 4 a.m. Monday to pick up my sweetheart after an extended time apart, and do I really want to be sleep-deprived when that happens?

I’ll leave it up to you what you folks want to do this evening, but going back to what I said in the beginning, given the choice of whether to watch the debate or be in the path of a hurricane, as Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw said in a song once, I say bring on the rain.

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