Power to the Status Quo
The questions go unanswered. The hard hitting ones go unasked. By most, the debates even go un-noted. This is the sad reality of political debate in today’s America. Everyone knows it, and many are ready for change. Some have made complaints, and others, suggestions. But why exactly then is it that political candidates are the ones so resistant to changing the format of debate?
Perhaps it’s because politicians are salesmen, pitching a product as abstract as themselves. It isn’t a stretch to conclude that a salesman selling an abstract product has to be even more slick and sly than one who pitches a concrete one. Regrettably enough, this would explain why candidates are spending millions each year on campaign managers and PR personnel. Each member of the campaign team is a salesman, from the politician down to the lowliest intern. The thing about pitching a product is that it’s all about control.
Whether candidiates like it or not, times are changing, and people are clamoring to be spoken to, instead of spoken at, as YouTube shaker James Kotecki put it in his recent visit to our Dissident Media class. In today’s world, information control is no longer limited to a select few. The advancement of the Internet has excused nothing from the realm of public discussion, and true, public political discussion is exactly what’s being called for. While the recent Democratic ‘YouTube’ debates are a baby step in the right direction, the format of debate has largely gone unchanged since the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate. If tomorrow’s political hopefuls want to be taken seriously and, maybe more importantly, sincerely, they’d do well to do away with the thirty second sound bytes and to embrace, however reluctantly, the changing face of political debate that is incontestably headed their way.