?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

No Debate About It

I’ve read in more than one newspaper that Joe Biden and Donald Trump, both presumptive nominees for president from their respective political parties, have agreed to two debates. The first is scheduled for June, before either convention has occurred, while the second is slated for September.

We’ve been through political debates before. The first one was between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, and it showed how the technology of the time could influence viewers. Since then debates have become part of the election circus . . . I mean election process.

By definition, according to Oxford Languages, a debate is “a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.”

There are specific rules for debate, including providing factual evidence for statements the debaters make. When there is disagreement, it must be respectful by focusing on the topic and not the individual. Emotions should be kept in check.

Interrupting each other, shouting over a speaker, ignoring the time limit, and bringing up extraneous issues are not listed in any debate format I could find. Yet, this is what our political debates have degenerated into. So I’ve stopped watching.

Perhaps they should be called what they are. How about the National Verbal Slugfest? Or the Mudslinger Marathon? Or the Catcall Contest?

I still won’t watch.

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