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Is there any hope for serious public discussion?

Jack Hays

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace
 

Bob N

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Jack: in my opinion with all of the special interest groups and big businesses out there that buys lawmakers, those days are long gone. :(
 

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace

It appears to me that we may have to go over the cliff before anything changes! :eek: It's sad that few appear to be willing to take a chance on putting Country before Party to prevent it, because they know they will be demonized by their own party. Meanwhile, our debt increases by $10 million dollars per minute, and no one seems to care... :shock:

Good evening, Jack! :2wave:
 

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There is plenty of serious debate to be had. The problem is multi-faceted though....

1. People tune into various "color" commentators to tell them what the debate is. Even if unintentional, almost everything is presented with a bias however slight(or egregious). sometimes even supposedly "centrist" shows will frame questions to their guests or listeners that betray their bias, without explicitly stating it. I call this subliminal bias. They won't come out and beat you over the head with bias, but it's framed in a way that gets you to think about that issue from their point of view.

2. People don't typically have the expertise or education to be knowledgeable on such a wide range of subjects. They basically have to accept the presentation of the debate as either being true to support their own bias, or fear that the presentation is true if it counters their own bias.

3. Even within several industries and topics there are qualified experts and educators that debate issues within their own community. So it's not hard to find two people, equally educated and experienced, to contradict the other creating a confusing mess of a topic. Thus you can find an expert to confirm your bias, or one to expose your opponents bias.
 

Jack Hays

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It appears to me that we may have to go over the cliff before anything changes! :eek: It's sad that few appear to be willing to take a chance on putting Country before Party to prevent it, because they know they will be demonized by their own party. Meanwhile, our debt increases by $10 million dollars per minute, and no one seems to care... :shock:

Good evening, Jack! :2wave:

Good evening, Polgara.:2wave:
I suppose what is lacking is courage.:peace
 

Jack Hays

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There is plenty of serious debate to be had. The problem is multi-faceted though....

1. People tune into various "color" commentators to tell them what the debate is. Even if unintentional, almost everything is presented with a bias however slight(or egregious). sometimes even supposedly "centrist" shows will frame questions to their guests or listeners that betray their bias, without explicitly stating it. I call this subliminal bias. They won't come out and beat you over the head with bias, but it's framed in a way that gets you to think about that issue from their point of view.

2. People don't typically have the expertise or education to be knowledgeable on such a wide range of subjects. They basically have to accept the presentation of the debate as either being true to support their own bias, or fear that the presentation is true if it counters their own bias.

3. Even within several industries and topics there are qualified experts and educators that debate issues within their own community. So it's not hard to find two people, equally educated and experienced, to contradict the other creating a confusing mess of a topic. Thus you can find an expert to confirm your bias, or one to expose your opponents bias.

I see your points, but I was thinking more of the exchanges between our candidates and leaders than the cacophony of hired talking heads.:peace
 

WI Crippler

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I see your points, but I was thinking more of the exchanges between our candidates and leaders than the cacophony of hired talking heads.:peace

I think the presidential debates are handled fairly well. Even with all the caterwauling after the 08 election, there was nothing alarming or controversial of the debate between Palin/Biden. The hot air comes when candidates get in front of their constituents. I think most politicians have a degree of respect for each other because of the shared stress and duties of their respective offices. But they also have to keep an ear to the ground with regards to their electorate because those people do get engaged by talking heads. Populist styled candidates are the most susceptible to things like opinion polls, so they will shift position with the political wind in order to keep their job, making it even more difficult to discern the true nature of the fundamental belief system of that politician.
 

grip

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace

I don't remember politicians ever speaking honestly. There are two ways people can talk, one is the way we would like things to be and the other is the way things will likely be. They basically make a sales pitch on their vision of how we would like things, not reality. Nobody would elect or follow someone telling the truth.
 

Jack Hays

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I don't remember politicians ever speaking honestly. There are two ways people can talk, one is the way we would like things to be and the other is the way things will likely be. They basically make a sales pitch on their vision of how we would like things, not reality. Nobody would elect or follow someone telling the truth.

It used to happen.:peace
 

grip

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It used to happen.:peace

Maybe in Lincolns day though I doubt there have been a lot of honest politicians since. It's just the way it is. I think Ross Perot was trying to be truthful but his picking of such a seemingly inept running mate killed his chances.
 

Jack Hays

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Maybe in Lincolns day though I doubt there have been a lot of honest politicians since. It's just the way it is. I think Ross Perot was trying to be truthful but his picking of such a seemingly inept running mate killed his chances.

Ha! I voted for Perot, although I wasn't impressed by Stockdale. Honesty is a big part of what I'm talking about, but it's not all of it. There's also vision. Lincoln certainly makes the cut, but I'd consider TR, FDR, Truman and Eisenhower too.:peace
 
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grip

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Ha! I voted for Perot, although I wasn't impressed by Stockdale. Honesty is a big part of what I'm talking about, but it's not all of it. Here's also vision. Lincoln certainly makes the cut, but I'd consider TR, FDR, Truman and Eisenhower too.:peace

Eisenhower was probably one of the most underrated for his "hidden hand" style of leading. Those were all some good Presidents and I don't think even the most recent are terrible people it's the system we have.
 

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Jack: in my opinion with all of the special interest groups and big businesses out there that buys lawmakers, those days are long gone. :(

What makes you think these haven't always existed? Even the founders talked about them in their writings. This stuff existed in ancient times. They were well aware of factions, men of questionable character, and people looking to line their pockets. Remember the story of how Jesus chased the money-changers out of the Temple?
 

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace
There was never any golden age of candour. By its very nature, political discourse is skewed; its prerogative is contention. Don't fall for misplaced nostalgia.
 

NoC_T

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The most famous example would be the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Most famous or the only one you're aware of? This was a marathon of reciprocity, why?
 

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace

No. The only ONLY only ONLY thing that matters is their re-election. If I had to guess? I'd venture the good ones drop out along the way in disgust.
 

NoC_T

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Eisenhower & Stevenson never debated face to face, but their public discourse was at a high level.
God and Moses.

I trust there's some common denominator?
 

Jack Hays

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God and Moses.

I trust there's some common denominator?

My original post was descriptive, not prescriptive. I asked a question; I did not claim to have an answer.:peace
 

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My original post was descriptive, not prescriptive. I asked a question; I did not claim to have an answer.:peace
It became prescriptive once you attempted to support it with examples. You said people used to follow honest politicians. I asked you when. You responded with three examples that didn't follow.
 

Jack Hays

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It became prescriptive once you attempted to support it with examples. You said people used to follow honest politicians. I asked you when. You responded with three examples that didn't follow.

Well, I think you have thoroughly misinterpreted my comments. But more important, the kind of nastiness in your posts is a fine example of the problem that concerns me.:peace
 
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