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What others say: Start debates like sporting events — with the anthem

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 9:52 p.m. MDT

President Barack Obama speaks as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and moderator Bob Schieffer listen during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds) (Associated Press) President Barack Obama speaks as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and moderator Bob Schieffer listen during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds) (Associated Press)

Listening to the national anthem before the start of the baseball championship game Monday night, an hour or so before the final presidential debate was to start, we wondered about the custom of beginning a game with the anthem, sung a cappella, before a hushed stadium.

Maybe, we thought, it's a way to remind us that, though we may wear different colors and want our opponents to fail, we are, ultimately, on the same team. And that we are there to watch a game — a high-stakes contest perhaps, but still a game.

Maybe we should begin presidential debates in the same way. Bring in a group of local schoolchildren to the debate arena to sing the anthem, as the candidates, audience and even the press rise for a contemplative few moments.

We could reflect on the fact that we are blessed to live in a land where, no matter how much mud and invective is slung — including by us — we will soon go to vote, privately and peacefully, and, after those votes are counted, we will witness the resumption or transfer of power without a drop of blood shed.

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo reacts after the final out in Game 7 of baseball's National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 9-0 to win the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Associated Press) San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo reacts after the final out in Game 7 of baseball's National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 9-0 to win the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Associated Press)

And, really, isn't politics and the battle for the presidency about those children? Maybe their presence would remind us that we all want them to inherit the best country, and the best chances for a good life, we can provide. Maybe, as sometimes happens when adults are in the company of children, the debaters would behave better, and, maybe, even raise their level of discourse.

If nothing else, we could all share a quiet moment to remember that, really, politics is far more than a game, and that, ultimately, we are on the same team.

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