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Don't Call Them Debates

Updated on October 17, 2012

It is time to stop calling these exchanges between presidential candidates "debates." Instead, we should call them what they are-- euphemistically, forums or discussions, but realistically, shouting matches or mouth battles.

Clearly, they are not debates, and referring to them as such is disparaging to those previous candidates, dating back to Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, who abided by the rules and demonstrated mutual respect and decorum that’s non-existent now. Ineffective moderators who resemble clueless substitute teachers trying to control a pair of unruly know-it-alls further exacerbate the mayhem.

The contentious tone shouldn’t be surprising considering the tenor of political discourse (of lack thereof) in this country. The winner is not the candidate who presents the soundest arguments supported with solid evidence. Rather, it is the one who shouts the loudest, no matter how factually-challenged or reason-impaired.

Little wonder that so many people are disenchanted and disgusted with the process. Partisans love the gnashing of teeth, but independents who will determine the election outcome detest it.

When will the politicians get it? Polarizing accomplishes nothing but breeding further stubbornness and lack of respect for opposing viewpoints, resulting in shoving enduring problems aside to some other regime or generation. These dilemmas are many, from entitlements, to the debt, taxes, climate change, and the list goes on. But God forbid, making a monumental decision on one of them might jeopardize an election victory.

Unless we demand a reversal of this maliciousness and self-interest from both collections of party drones, we are doomed to endure—or suffer—from governmental ineptitude that promises to undermine the foundations of our nation faster than we could ever imagine.

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