Last week I merely pointed out that the debates of the 21st century do not have nearly as much influence and prestige as the Lincoln- Douglas debates. This week I would like to discuss how the current debate format is a disgrace to America.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates took place in 1858, the main issue being whether or not slavery was to continue in the United States. This era was a monumental point in the history of the United States; the secession of half of the country, a Civil War, the destruction of the former Southern way of life, and the reconstruction. These are the type of topics included in curriculums all over the United States from elementary education through high school.
However, the issues we face today are also vast. It was just six years ago our country was attacked by terrorists on Sepetember 11th and we still have armed forces overseas fighting the War on Terror. Social issues such as abortion, health care, and illegal immigration also prevail. We are now in an era that will be frequently studied and analyzed in the future. The current debate format is an insult to the vast issues the United States faces today. Presidential candidates should have more time to talk about their plans for America’s future, not be constrained to a minute or so. They should be allowed to address these issues (I mentioned the ones I think most Americans want to hear about, though I know it’s particular to each person) and not be forced to answer meaningless questions that focus on the past rather than the future.
I am including the link from the September 30, 2004 debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry if you would like to scan some of the questions and answers from last year, since my rant spurred from reading some of it. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/2004_U.S._Presidential_Debate_-_September_30#Question_10