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Time to tune in, not out
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Tonight’s the night.  The second debate for Republican presidential candidates will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.  Eleven men and women vying for the nomination will meet, and CNN, the host of the debate, has organized it to encourage as much interaction with the hopefuls as possible.  If you can’t be home between 5 and 6:45 p.m., set your recorders now.  
“My goal is more about: Let’s draw the contrasts between the candidates, and have them fight it out over these policies, over who has the best approach to Putin, over who has the best approach to taxes, over who believes what over immigration reform,” said moderator Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent.
The candidates that will take part are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul.  
Regardless of what party you belong to, or even if you’ve chosen to stay independent, its time to tune in and learn something.  Who appears to be the most presidential?  Who knows the issues, and who instead is full of nothing but steam?  Who has values in synch with your own, and who do you flat-out disagree with?  Debates like these offer so much more than the sound bites we’re about to be inundated with after the holidays.  
Most will not make the cut, it’s true.  But even those who don’t will continue to play a part in our nation’s political landscape for years to come.  
Educating ourselves on the candidates and the issues is the first step in carrying out our part in our American government.  Tune in to the debate tonight.  Besides, it’s bound to be far more entertaining than reruns of Seinfield, The Simpsons, or The Big Bang Theory.

--Veronica Coons