Why Not a Shout Out in the Debate?

During last night's Vice Presidential debate, Governor Sarah Palin gave a "shout out" to third graders at the elementary school where her brother teaches. I immediately posted to Twitter with the comment, "um...shout out in the debate?" One of my followers replied, "why not a 'shout out' she represents the average American." (punctuation left as originally used)

Now, I'm not sure if my friend was asking seriously or not. Honestly, I found myself wimping out on the reply. I typed, "no reason, just funny to hear." I realized I soon as I tapped tweet that I'd zeroed in on a detail instead of hearing the overall message – a stupid move on my part.

Sarah and I were even.

As I waited for the sandman to visit, I ruminated on the exchange. The truth is, I do have a reason for calling out the shout out. I feel a need to confess the drive behind my ill-chosen tweet.

My focus is simply on the dignity of the office of Vice President of the United States.

Look, I like being fun and silly, too. I appreciate a good joke. And when my kids learn the word sophomoric, they'll surely relate it to Mom. I am not a fan of President Bush's and haven't been for at least six years. And still I have enjoyed his periodic wit in candid communications. It is okay - even desirable - for politicians to have a funny bone. They're human, after all. I can even allow for humor in a debate. However, as I tell my children, there is a time and a place for everything. Radio show colloquialisms belong on radio shows and in sports bar conversations, not in the debate forum.

I believe the purpose of the debates is to inform the voting public and allow candidates to argue for and against positions and to comment on controversial issues. Therefore, I expect a certain higher level of respectability.

Am I asking too much for our candidates for elected office to display decorum and intelligence? It is wrong to think that conversation doesn't have to be dumbed down to reach Americans?

You see, I believe it is possible to have intelligent, dignified discourse and connect with the average American.

I promise, by the way, that I won't judge Governor Palin on this one nitpicking minute out of 90 or the bundle of other data I have and will consume in this election season. Cross my heart. Here's hoping you won't judge me on my blunder.