WHAT’S ALL THIS “DEBATING” GOING ON?
As the year draws to an end, the United States public has born witness to an odd political aberration that the mainstream Media calls “debate”. Having grown up in an era when words actually meant something, and the correct use of the English language was lauded, I have always had a quite different idea as to what a “debate” was all about.
I recall that at one point in time there were extracurricular events as early as High School called Debate Teams. The format of any debate was comprised of two people taking opposite views of a subject with each person putting forth an argument that won over their opponent’s side of the argument.
I start to get a nervous, agitating little twitch when words in our language get hijacked by people who should know better, and twisted into a meaning, or definition, that is far from the original. I have experienced that little twitch as I have been watching and listening to this year’s political panel discussions amongst the crop of Presidential hopefuls presenting themselves to the public. These panel discussions do not comprise a debate. I direct your attention to the Webster Dictionary’s definition of both the verb and the noun shown below:
SIMPLE DEFINITION OF DEBATE
· : to discuss (something) with people whose opinions are different from your own
· : to compete against (someone) in a debate : to argue against another person's opinions as part of an organized event
· : to think about (something) in order to decide what to do
noun de·bate \di-ˈbāt\
1. a discussion or argument carried on between two teams or sides
2. a discussion of issues <We had a debate over where to go on vacation.>
- discuss, argue, debate mean to discourse about in order to reach conclusions or to convince.
- discuss implies a sifting of possibilities especially by presenting considerations pro and con<discussed the need for a new highway>.
- argue implies the offering of reasons or evidence in support of convictions already held <argued that the project would be too costly>.
- debate suggests formal or public argument between opposing parties <debated the merits of the amendment>; it may also apply to deliberation with oneself <I'm debating whether I should go>.
ORIGIN OF DEBATE
· Middle English, from Anglo-French debatre, from de- + batre to beat, from Latin battuere
· First Known Use: 14th century
The only true political debate occurs when the vying Parties produce their final candidate and there is a true, defined debate between two people with differing views. Ten, or eleven bodies up on a stage is not a debate. It is usually a match of “one-upmanship” between a collection of egos each attempting to be heard over all the others. This seems to inevitably result in oral diarrhea be spewed in the faces of the audience in an vain attempt to impress someone; usually themselves.
In a true debate, facts matter. This does not seem to be a practice employed by anyone running for elective office regardless of Party affiliation.
To have men and women in the Media, who tout themselves as Journalists, allow this aberration to occur, makes absolutely no sense. My immediate conclusion on this count is that these “Journalists” are calling their profession something it is not; that would be Journalism (you can look that one up, too). I must admit, here, that my first college degree was in Journalism. It hurts my head to watch in utter wonderment as the race toward elective office in this Country morphs into some strange, twisted pissing match between folks who are probably normal outside the political ring. There seems to be very little of any substance on policy and direction offered during these trying times. And, that is a disservice to the American public who deserve a lot better from their potential political leaders.
My overall conclusion is that the voting public is the last bastion and hope for changing this abortion called the political process. The American public is not stupid, dumb, or ignorant. It is within their power to affect change; Lord knows, our politicians have thrown in the towel on that concept. Does anybody really want to “take back America”? Maybe it’s time to stand up, make your voice heard, and make your vote count. Please, just do it!