It really is painful stuff for me. Especially the part where each side usually seems to have memorized the same lines and just repeats them over and over again.
Just the other day I was victimized by a Republican and Democrat's engagement in an Obama versus Romney debate. Each refused to listen, but each was quite skilled at using a lot of volume and not backing down.
The worst part was I was sandwiched between the two of them during their heated verbal duel. Oh my ears! It was supposed to have been a nice sandwich lunch, not a Pat sandwich! I had been hoping to talk about something exciting, like whether Captain America or Iron Man would be best versus Hulk, should Hulk go ape.
But back to the debate. It was something about whether Bain or Romney had been involved in a medical waste company called Stericycle. One demanded that it was all lies. All of it whatsoever! The other insisted that Bain and Romney had made immoral profits by getting involved with Stericycle. Stericycle allegedly disposed of medical test animals and aborted human fetuses, or whatnot. You can guess which person was the Republican and which was the Democrat.
"Well, what are the facts?" I finally spoke up. I was sick of the broken record arguments. As I said, my ears were hurting. Something had to be done.
Both looked at me, glaring, ready to attack. Each prepared for me to become his adversary with only a few spoken words. After all, I had to be on one side or the other, right? No, or left? Sorry, bad joke.
After a little silence, in unison both demanded, "What do you mean THE FACTS! Which side are you on!"
"Don't yell at me, ok? I just want to ask a few questions without taking sides. Is that fair?"
"Go ahead, we're cool."
"You both are arguing over whether Mitt Romney and Bain were investors in Stericycle, right?"
"Yes," they both agreed.
"And you'd both be happy to read any official government documents detailing the transaction? So you'd know stuff like whether it really occurred, who signed on the dotted line, and all that. Assuming it really occurred at all, right?"
"Yes," both again agreed.
"Is Stericyle a public company?"
"What's that have to do with anything?"
"Well, if Stericycle is public, and I'm pretty sure it is, had Romney or Bain made a substantial equity investment in it, there would be a Schedule 13D filed with the SEC which memorializes the transaction. It's called a Beneficial Owner Report, or something like that."
"Where do we find it?"
"Just go to www.sec.gov and search the documents."
They both went straight for their iPhones. After doing a bunch of "Stericycle, Bain," and "Romney" searches, they found what they were seeking:
They spent the next 20 minutes reading every word, and then they immediately lunged straight into arguing their same points once more. Obama versus Romney. Conservative versus Republican, Right versus Left. My ears began to hurt again.
And so I sat there between them, silently pondering the more important question. Which Avenger was best suited for challenging The Incredible Hulk, should our green hero go ape?