YouTube’s primary function

I didn’t think it was possible, but they did it again. The same entertainment franchise that hit solid gold with that video of the skateboarding bull-dog did it again on Monday night with the YouTube Democratic Debate.

For those of you who missed the hours of enjoyment YouTube, Anderson Cooper and the 800 Democratic front runners put together, it may seem confusing why YouTube was involved in the political debate at all. I know it confused me until I watched to see what was going on.

Apparently, through the wonders of the Internet, people submitted video questions for the pundits through the YouTube website. Questions were chosen, based on no criteria I could ever imagine, and the candidates were forced to answer the questions the voters wanted to know.

It would have been a great concept if the candidates didn’t use the same side-stepping techniques that they always use to avoid questions that they don’t want to answer. For example, when asked about gay marriage, John Edwards responded that although he didn’t believe in it morally, he wouldn’t let his personal belief influence him when he is the president. (I’m confused – does that mean he will support it or not?)

When it came right down to it, the video of the skate-boarding dog wasn’t so dissimilar to the video of the candidates jumping through hoops to avoid answering the real questions. One even resorted to critiquing another candidate’s fashion choices to avoid a possibly uncomfortable situation.

(Oh, and as a quick side-note, I would love it if news anchors and other politicians would stop talking about the candidates’ qualifications and then talking about Hillary Clinton’s shoes, hair, clothes and weight. I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure none of that is going to affect how what kind of a leader she would be and frankly it just gets annoying.)

Despite all of the questions that remained un-answered despite the amount of talking at the podium, I think the YouTube debate was a success; not because it cleared up where the politicians stood on the issues or because it outlined a clear front runner. The YouTube debate did something that few other political debates have done. It engaged younger viewers by allowing them to ask the questions they care about. In a time when voter turnout has steadily gone down hill, providing a debate that might actually interest people who weren’t so politically minded in the first place is a great idea.

The best part is, if you missed the debate, you can probably watch it anytime on YouTube, but be sure to check out the skate-boarding dog or that narcoleptic cat first. You have to have priorities.

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