Lastly, I would like to pronounce intelligent and educated political discourse in this country as officially dead. Although there are a handful of friends I have where we can still openly discuss the vast sins of both parties along with their respective virtues, it appears that for the most part we are reduced to regurgitating marketing spin, pundit operatives and talk show hosts, and letting the TV tell us what to think because we simply (and truly) don't have the hours and hours it takes to sift through all the sources of information to find the very buried facts.
As a result, this election season we are left not with two flawed but capable and intelligent candidates who differ on policy, but we instead we have merely the pathetic choice of deciding between a socialist closeted America-hating muslim terrorist plotting to overthrow the country or a wandering, vascillating senile opportunist warmonger devoted to protecting the rich in W's third-term. People who lean Obama are written off by the other side as uninformed star-struck sheep oblivious to his dark secret intentions and robotically parrot the jingle the right's marketing staffers have carefully crafted, "Who is he? You can't trust him!" People who lean McCain are written off by their counterparts as uneducated, gun-toting, racist, judgmental religious zealots blind to their party's abandonment of its founding principles.
The 24-hours newscycles insist upon playing up the most ridiculous details of the political scene and random opinions of random people–all at the same pitch and intensity they announce actual news and people apparently can't tell the difference anymore. Insane conspiracy theories and fear-as-persuasion abounds on all sides among formerly intelligible people–the blogs and emails are screaming with lies and panic with what each candidate will "surely" do to destroy this country in a few short months. This country is falling apart intellectually, spiritually, politically and economically.
It is interesting that conference was so heavily focused on unity–it is surely a lost virtue in our society.
Goodbye, intelligent rational discourse–you will be missed!