By Anonymous (not verified) on October 22, 2012

If you’re among the 4 percent of likely voters who are still undecided, here are some things you need to know:

1. 9:00 pm EST, that's when it starts. It goes on until 10:30 pm. It's going to feel like several days, but you need to hang in there, so people won't judge you tomorrow at work/the unemployment office.

2. Television, that's how you watch it (exceptions made for Internet, radio, real-time puppet recreations/interpretive dance).

3. If you can hear sound, but you cannot see anything, you may have your eyes closed. Open them for full effect.

4. If you see 22 men running around in tights, and tossing around an oblong ball, you do not have the correct channel.

5. Now you're going to see two seated figures wearing flag pins. They are called politicians. Throughout the course of the night, they will emit a series of odd noises. These noises are known as hollow rhetoric, obfuscation, and lies—depending.

6. The elderly gentleman, who looks a tad like Statler and/or Waldorf from the Muppets, is called Bob Schieffer. He's the moderator.

7. The flag pin model who looks like 1950s-era clip art is called Mitt Romney. He's a Republican. The other one is called Barack Obama. He's also a Republican.

8. Very rarely, one of them will say something that's true. More than likely, this will be the Republican—Barack Obama. And it will likely be about the death of Osama bin Laden. He is dead. This will be mentioned many times. Every time it is mentioned, you must do a shot of Mormon Moonshine (whole milk). It's in the Constitution.

9. You'll hear about bin Laden a lot because the focus of the debate is foreign policy. Bin Laden is Obama's ace in the hole. Romney's ace is his experience battling the elusive same-sex warrior tribes of Massachusetts when he was governor. He'll also try to make something out of the recent attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, probably by playing “gotcha” with something Obama never said. And watch for Obama to double-down on the importance of finding out exactly what happened—by November 7th (any sooner would be “playing politics”).

10. Schieffer's going to break the debate into six fifteen-minute segments—all based on the general attitude Americans share, which allows us to compartmentalize murder and obtusely refer to Iran as the “epicenter of world terrorism” without laughing because, clearly, we kill way more people than those sad Mullahs have ever dreamed. We're # 1! We're #1!

Segment 1: American exceptionalism in the world (see above). The candidates will try to out-denial each other in regard to our waning global influence. Expect to hear phrases like “A new/next American century,” and “Git 'er done!”

Segment 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are countries—two of several in which we currently kill people with flying robots. Expect to hear some about the “fighting season,” yet none about how it's sort of weird that our flying death-robots are a bit wuss about the cold.

Segment 3: The Mensch-off. In addition to being the “Statler and Waldorf Capitol of the World,” Boca Raton is also know as “Big Jerusalem” in some circles that I just made up. Jews. There are lots of old Jews there. I'm allowed to say that, right? I mean, it's true. Anyway, it's the perfect setting for a Jewish panderfest. Obama and Romney will play doting shiksas by vowing their unbound affection for the State of Israel and its illegal occupation of the West Bank. On the flip side, both candidates will promise to beat up mean 'ol Iran. (Drink a gallon of milk if Romney calls anything a “Mitzvah!”) And, of course, there will be compulsory spelling bee portion. Look for “Ahmadinejad” to stump everyone. October Surprise: Romney may or may not credit the Jewish race with populating ancient North America, and burying the Golden Plates upon which Joseph Smith based the Book of Mormon.

Segment 4: The broader Middle East, broken into three distinct parts: a) The bucking Predator Drone rodeo; b) totally ignoring all of our unsavory alliances in the region (like Saudi Arabia) while juggling hypocritical rhetoric about promoting democracy and the rights of women; and c) the slam-dunk contest, sponsored by Raytheon.

Segment 5: Our future overlords, the Chinese. Look for Romney to talk tough about General Tso—possibly call him chicken, and make several other horrible, past-deadline puns of desperation, presumably. Obama, on the other hand, will no doubt read from Mao's Little Red Book and describe his five-year plan to bring the United States into the glorious Communist fold.

11. Now, despite the foreign policy focus, don't be surprised if the debate veers into domestic affairs, like the economy, how we probably don't have more people in prison than any other country as far as you know, how the female uterus is our biggest job creator, whose Heritage Foundation health care plan is better, exploring Chuck Todd's strategic goatee reserves, and the importance of recognizing our heroes on Wall Street.

12. And last, but not least, both candidates will surely rail against both the FBI's and the CIA's propensity to devise terror plots with the sole intent of thwarting them to justify their massive, swollen budgets. Just kidding! None of this stuff will happen. And you should probably just watch football.

Follow Murphy on Twitter for more expert political analysis.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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