Presidential Debates

All of the the presidential “debates” are not at all true debates. Even the sponsors of the very first debates decades ago knew this and wanted to call them “discussions”, not “debates”. And, yet, everybody gets fooled into thinking that politicians and the media are actually trying hard to answer tough questions and have lively open debates about what the best path is so that our democracy can thrive. It’s all bull. The candidates simply state their positions and sometimes go back and forth superficially. A real debate about fundamental disagreements would not restrict answers to a minute or two. All of our differences on specific issues arise from more fundamental differences in world views and political philosophies.

A real debate would look like the following: No time limits. Free style everything. Candidates would actually analyze (pick apart) each other’s arguments. Resolution would be judged by the moderator once both candidates agree on something or once one candidate cannot negate the key point of the opponent. Some topics may last days long. If the truth of an argument rests on the truth of a separate argument, then the debate can temporarily shift to resolve the separate argument before moving back to the original. If a candidate is uncertain about a question, there will be no shame in pausing the entire debate, even for a day or so, to allow a candidate to actually think carefully before he speaks; this would even be encouraged. Quick punchlines would thankfully take a back seat to thoughtful answers. Candidates would be allowed to have expert advisers with them on stage, sometimes debating for them. This may seem like cheating, but being the president doesn’t require that you know absolutely everything about every issue, it means that you can come to the correct decisions once given the relevant information (this is what happens in the real world, by the way); and, since the debates would go in such great depth on some issues, it would be common for the subject matter to require expert witness. Once resolution is found, it is recorded and can be referred back to for support of future arguments. If a candidate makes a false statement, fact checkers can actually interrupt the debate to correct the candidates immediately. The debate would go deeper and deeper until it asks the most fundamental questions about the purpose of government and what and why rights exist.

Some of you may think that this process would take too long, probably a good month for the debate. I reply that: taking the proper long time to FINALLY answer questions and obtain resolution is better than repeating the same mistakes for decades, even centuries, long. You may think that this detailed and deep debate is already taking place on 24-hr news networks and that the current presidential “debates” are only meant to allow citizens to “get to know” the candidates. You are wrong. The 24-hr news networks are also very superficial. Their debates with guests generally last for 5-10 minutes. And, if you haven’t noticed, the different hosts of different shows simply say the same thing with a little different flavor. The whole 24 hrs is NOT taken up by saying different things and further developing thoughts, but is instead taken up by repeating the same wrong statements and arguments over and over again. So, there is plenty of time on 24-hr networks to show the lengthy debates that I have proposed, or even for such debates to be held apart from the presidential debates. So far, both Obama and Romney, just as all candidates before, and including nearly all the media, have consciously chosen to have bulls@*t superficial “debates” to save their own asses because they both know that their positions won’t stand up to thorough scrutiny. They have all agreed to be worthless. So, why should we choose either of them?

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