True story: I didn't know crap about politics until 2004. During the 2000 election, I was a newly minted high school sophomore strictly focused on football and getting laid as soon as possible. Buckling down on the political coverage, I found myself completely bored and/or overwhelmed by the whole thing, especially the debates.
Now, there might be some of you out there that are currently in the same boat I was back then. Listen, this stuff isn't easy, but it is important. I'm not going to talk down and scold you for not being aware of the political climate in this country. My guess is you've been either busy trying to make ends meet or have been distracted by reality show judges with weaves that cost more than my rent check. Here's a Game Genie for watching presidential debates that'll have you sounding like the wonkiest wonk that has ever wonked. (We really have to address how porn-y that word sounds at a later point, by the way)
Treat the whole thing like NBA League Pass:
If you've never experienced the joy of League Pass or just don't follow the NBA (I weep for you), it's a cable add-on that allows you to watch games from teams that are from all over the country on their home channels. You can see the Houston Rockets score, then see a commercial for a fast food place in Houston that you'll never eat at. Applying this to the debate format, try to flip between channels catering to the political ideology of each candidate after the debate. This is easier if you have more than one TV at your disposal. Start on CNN, then flip to MSNBC, then to Fox News, then back. You'll immediately notice the differences, not just in what the talking heads are spouting off on, but the phrases and debate points that are attacked and/or ignored. It's fun to point out. Offense vs. Defense.
Don't go on Facebook at any point during the debate:
Seriously. We know elections turn the bottom 10 percent of our high school class into Rhodes Scholars well-versed in whatever ideology-via-email their Aunt Kathy sent them. Avoid it and make your own choices. Also, you'll be WAY less annoyed.
Stats, stats, stats!
Like going out for a long night, it's smart to have a solid base before you get started. Take the time to do a quick Google search of things like the current unemployment rate, the amount of the defecit and things of that nature. These key stats will give you a bunch of insight that you wouldn't have watching with no background. It also makes you feel smarter. Feeling smart is good.
Now, if this sounds like too much, guess what? Tough s#@t. It's not Organic Chemistry. This is stuff that directly affects you and ignoring it might come back to bite you in the ass. Hell, if all else fails ...
Two words: Drinking game.
(This is simply an innocent bingo card, by the way. Don't use it for the purposes of consuming alcohol as that would be wholly irresponsible for me to promote that you do.)
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.