A plea for healthy, thorough debates | AspenTimes.com

A plea for healthy, thorough debates

The dictionary is quite clear. A “debatable” issue is one that is “capable of being argued or discussed.” To debate an issue is to “deliberate or consider; to engage in argument; to discuss opposing points.”

Most of us can understand this. Most of us engage regularly in discussions about issues affecting our lives. The resolution to these discussions is usually a proposal that allows support with which all can agree and a plan for acceptance of differences.

Unfortunately, an obsolete definition of the term “debate” is to fight or quarrel, to dispute or argue about, to fight or argue for or over. The obsolete term reflects conflict, strife, contention. The goal from the Latin and French derivatives is to beat, fight against each other…

It appears that the organizers of the so called debates we must witness today (if we wish to hear discussion and support or lack of support regarding issues affecting our lives) are using the obsolete definition of debate! The goal appears to be the fight — not the discussion or search for responsible plans.

As a long time ago debate team member and as a former mentor for high school debate teams, I never limited presentations or responses to “30 seconds to two minutes”! The students would never have tolerated such nonsense! Nor should we tolerate such behavior today. We must recognize the lack of value, the encouragement of distrust, the tolerance of academic insults, and the avoidance of any value to the debates at they continue to be called.

Our candidates for president of the United States deserve better than that. Each candidate is qualified, experienced, intelligent, determined and caring. We must find a way to allow those individuals to “deliberate or consider” and to engage in true “discussion or argument” without having to resort to attack and insult or fight or conflict in order to command TV time.

Dorothea Farris

Crystal River Valley