Forum for debate


A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine, commenting on one of my posts, brought into question the proper forum for, in this case, political debate.

While I understood his point, I’m going to pretend I didn’t, otherwise this post would end in one paragraph.

(Waits for rabid cheering to subside)

Yeah, you know that’s not going to happen. And don’t try heading for the exit doors; I’ve employed the legendary Katie to drop the bars. You’re stuck here for the duration.

So, then, back to the original premise. What is the proper forum for political…really, any…debate?

The quick answer is nowhere. Which makes the correct answer, everywhere.

There are generally some topics that, no matter where they are discussed, they lead to hardened positions on both sides of the debate. It is unfortunate that sometimes this brings about hardened language, which often obscures the most important fact:

That the debate deserves to happen.

With timing conflicts, work, family, stuff, etc., so much often goes unsaid. As social media plays larger roles in people’s lives, some believe the debate can happen there. Sadly, many times that simply becomes a foot-stomping affair.

Some people give in to the urgency of their convictions and type short, staccato responses that rarely scratch further than surface deep (if that far) into the discussion that needs to be had. Invariably, this leads to a back and forth of chipped sentences often heading well off-topic from the original issue.

It’s a cliché to say you shouldn’t talk politics or religion at the dinner table. The question is why not? Is the subject going to be any less harmful to your digestion after the meal? Plus, there is the added bonus that most people, being hungry, will not up and leave the table.

After you’re done eating and sitting in the living room, there’s less compelling reason to stay and have that uncomfortable (but necessary) debate.

Without sounding too much like Dr. Seuss, the debate should happen at work and at play, in the home and in the car, at the water cooler and in the bathroom (but not in the stalls). It should happen on news channels and in comedy skits. And, yes, even at award shows.

It’s easy to say “let’s talk about this at a more appropriate time”. It’s also dangerous, for a debate postponed is not guaranteed to be renewed.

The best forum for debate? Everywhere.

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