Arizona State University, as you probably already know, is the site of tomorrow's third and final Presidential debate. CNN and MSNBC already have soundstages set up, and were airing shows live from them today. I'd go into a lot of detail about the idiocy that went on there, but I think this letter to the editor that I wrote (which will most likely not be published, especially because the version I sent had several grammatical errors I failed to find in my haste):

I would like to take this opportunity to thank demonstrators in both the CNN Crossfire and MSNBC Hardball audiences Tuesday for proving that immaturity is truly nonpartisan. Both sides demonstrated a complete inability to master such concepts as civility, tact, and getting their damn signs out of my face. I realize, of course, that the idea that possesses both parties is that making more noise and taking up more space shows that there is more public support for their candidate. This sentiment, however, is rather akin to a child crying more and more loudly in an effort to cajole the parent into doing what it wants. The parent not only grows more and more irritated, but their resolve is steeled against fulfilling the child's wishes.

Both shows were overshadowed by "sign wars", in which each side would make a puerile attempt to block the other party's signs with their own. At one point, another student standing next to me shouted at some of the more aggressive antagonists something to the effect of, "What are you, in third grade?" A BBC correspondent later interviewed him. It's a good thing he didn't interview me; my reply would have been unprintable. Meanwhile, in between such clever chants as "Viva Bush" and "No More Years", we had Bush supporters cracking jokes that even Carrot Top would shrink from using; such creative remarks as, "Only fat girls like Kerry" and (when a Kerry sign fell off its stake) "Oh, looks like Kerry's falling under the pressure." Perhaps in the interest of equality (i.e., to show such idiocy isn't confined to conservatives), we had Kerry supporters making similar comments, albeit directed more at the candidate than the campaigners; e.g., "Dick is limp" and the infamous "Bushoccio" doll. Overall, while the Bush supporters tended to be more obnoxious, the Kerry supporters were louder and more irritating.

What I want to know is what people are hoping to prove with these displays. (The only thing it proves to me is that they probably shouldn't be voting.) Does any rational adult truly believe that anyone will be swayed to their side by waving around posters and screaming incoherently? I should hope not. If anything, the Republican demonstrators just made me more resolute in my belief that a large percentage of Bush voters are raving loons, and the Democratic demonstrators (whose candidate I will be voting for, though I am not registered with either party) made me ashamed to be even vaguely associated with them.

You want to support your candidate, that's fine. But would it be too much to ask for you to have a little bit of decorum? Could you, say, tone it down to the level of a wrestling audience?

In related news, if you watched CNN's Crossfire today, you probably saw me. I was the short, fat guy in blue that wasn't holding a sign or screaming at the camera or anything. I was waving a newspaper like a fan. It was pretty hot out, after all.

Edit: I just realized I posted this in the Oct. 13th daylog. This was on Oct. 12th, obviously, because Oct. 13th is the day of the debate.

Edit Deux: I just got a call from the editor at the State Press. Not only do they want to print the letter, but they're making it a guest column. Jesus. I can hardly wait to see the hate mail come in.