Debating is dwindling and why you should be concerned

After watching the presidential debate, we can all agree that the debate was a cheap circus act—entertaining but containing no real substance. Trump spewed every thought that entered his head while Clinton prodded him with little comments and tried her best to appear relatable by bringing up her father. They touched on the U.S. economy, stated the same things again and again while on the topic of foreign affairs, and barely covered the rest. The viewers finished watching without learning anything new about issues that can impact them. Instead, the takeaways are memes, noting poor word choices, and Clinton’s line about being prepared for presidency.

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Credit: abcnews.go.com

Debates are crucial for everyone to understand different perspectives for major controversial issues. Whether or not most people agree with one side over another is irrelevant. We need to hear both because it allows every voice to be heard and considered. Without debates democracy would not work, people would not be able to freely share ideas with each other, and certain viewpoints could be unheard. For example, imagine if we only heard one side to the abortion controversy. If people only heard about the pro-life movement, where people want to save every unborn child, they might not consider whether it is right for a law to control what a person does with their body. Debating allows for people to weigh options and opinions to then form their own. We will not agree with viewpoints that conflict with our own but if we can see the necessity in them then we can attempt compromises.
In order to debate, people need to learn about topics and gather evidence that can support them making their arguments stronger. If someone does not have anything to back up their views then it is just their opinion arguing with somebody who has facts. If person A has statistical reports, fact-checked information, and expert opinions supporting them while person B has only their thoughts and feelings, person A is going to be more compelling. Does that make person A’s argument true? Not necessarily, which is why supporting evidence is key to debating.
The presidential election has brought up many issues in how debates are conducted. Currently the facts are not relevant, scandals are talked about more than controversial issues, and how people feel are governing the choices they make. We cannot ignore the oppositional viewpoints against us and we cannot discuss real issues without real information. We should adhere to Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s declaration that “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Respect that other points of views exist but argue why yours should be listened to.

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