What to watch tonight? There is the debate, of course, upon which hangs the fate of the nation if not the world. That's important. And, then, there is the seventh game of the National League playoffs, with the winner going to the World Series. And, on Monday Night Football we have the Chicago Bears vs. the Detroit Lions, a tough divisional match-up.
One can, of course, pick one and watch the others, later, in replay. But how to decide. One measure might be which of the events will be the least conclusive. The baseball game is win-or-go-home. When it is over, it will be the end of a long season for either the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals. A season that began back months ago when pitchers and catchers reported. If you are a fan, you feel almost obliged to watch as a kind of homage.
The football game will not be quite so decisive but Detroit pretty much needs this one to stay alive in a tough division. A loss might put the Lions too deeply into the hole to dig themselves out. And, then, all fans of professional football feel a kind of tribal attachment to the Bears. They are one of the iconic teams that you watch because ... well, you just do.
And, then, in the case of both the football and baseball games, when they are over ... you will know, of a certainty, who won. You won't need Stephanie Cutter to tell you. Or Morning Joe to do expert analysis. The score will be there and that will be that.
On the other hand, the debate – contra Yogi Berra – will not be over when it is over. It will, in some sense, be just beginning. Or merely at the end of the first act, anyway. By Friday, Peggy Noonan will still be writing about it and telling us who won and why. And it won't stop there.
Knowing this might help one make the decision about what to watch and what to TiVo.