When is a Debate NOT a Debate?

Once upon a time in the olden days, my concept of a debate was what we did in High School. One person attacks a position, the other person defends it. Initial propostion, response, rebuttal, etc. It made sense to me then and makes sense to me now, much more than what passes for the debates we’re currently seeing on the Tube. Questions come from the audience? Not in my debates. There are multiple moderators, commentators, and camerapeople? Not in my debates.  Pick a topic. Lay out your plan. Let the other person tell you its weaknesses,if any, and suggest his own plan. Then you each get a chance to rebut. The winner is the one who is the most convincing on THAT particular subject. But…these days it seems the topics are vague. No one dares to get too specific lest they are accused of being tunnel-visioned rather than looking a the whole thing…whatever that may be.  OR someone does mention a specific but may or may not have researched it throughly and ends up covering his butt with generalities.

Don’t get me wrong. I think debates have their place in the political arena. They have their place in everyday life as well. But they should be topic driven, with clear time frames for each participant, and NO audience input. The words of each person should reflect his own personal belief and philosophy as to how things should be resolved, not a carefully prepared speech to skirt the issues and give charm rather than substance tthe words spoken.

One last thing. When two sides can actually sit down and have a discussion of the problems at hand with the genuine desire to solve them we will no longer need debates. We may finally then be on the same page. For the good of the people.


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