Tuesday, October 4, 2016

debating time

With the next U.S. presidential 'debate' scheduled Oct. 9, my mind got to meandering and stalking the word itself: "debate." What did it mean, I wondered yesterday, and then tracked it a bit with the Great God Google ... and today it continues to tumble-dry in my mind, so I will work on that a bit and pass by whatever other stuff might come purring along my shins.

To me, a "debate" is a verbal joust in which two or more participants agree that something is important to each. But further, it is an encounter in which each agrees that there is something greater than their own personal persuasions in the balance. "A college education" or a "war that wounds and kills American soldiers" may rouse up all sorts of beliefs, but the greater tableau is the good of a nation. And within this framework, the linkage between the size of an individual's hands and the prowess of his or her genitalia is frivolous and irrelevant. Empirical evidence is brought to bear in a debate that might rightly be called a debate.

And in this regard, the presidential 'debates' tend to fall flat. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may snip and snap, but where does this leave the nation they both claim to wish to lead? Does it really improve my circumstances if a man wishes to marry a man or a bathroom is "trans-gender?" If a candidate calls himself a "success," does that make him a success? And how well does anyone's "character" fair when pitted against a Congress that can't agree on the directions to the nearest lavatory?

It all feels a bit like the public television show "This Old House" in which repairs are made to some wonderful old house with a set of tools that the average homeowner couldn't pay for in two lifetimes. Everyone's white and rich and they all seem to live on Nantucket. But that doesn't do much for the man and wife hoping to upgrade the bathroom with a little sweat equity.

I'd love to know who will pay for the presidential candidates' dreams, but given the format of latter-day debates, I'm having a hard time finding out what those dreams are outside of disparaging an opponent's age or boobs. Am I wrong in thinking that once the issue of "principles" had some impact on a presidential race?


  1. I think that's the "good ol' days" myth. The first publishings that resembled a newspaper were polemic in purpose and financially supported for that. Republics and democracies either limited citizenship to the oligarchy or unravelled under the weighty ignorance of the voting populace. In our world the oligarchy controls the media sufficiently to keep the masses on track with their interests. Here and there someone may have said or done something we think of as noble, but usually it just means we agreed with them. Truth, justice, and the straight line have no real place in our universe. These things live in our imaginations, hopes, and favored and likely skewed memories. Of course, i must caution you that i'm told i have a pretty bad attitude. So pound of salt, 'tsall good. lol

  2. Democracy is an opposition in Singapore and I do not support opposition because my maternal grandmother doesn't either. She was an illiterate, yet she understood perfectly why Joshua Wong from Hong Kong has been arrested in Bangkok under presumably Chinese request. About the fishes, a stingray just killed a Singaporean head of supervision at Sentosa hours ago. He was trying to migrate the fishes, something like what is scripted on Finding Dory the newer Pixar movie.