Is political debate dead?
Has the mini-stump speeches passed off as Presidential debates coupled with the extremist rantings on FOX and CNN left us with no real political discussion?
Unless I am talking with Dan, Allison, Jules, A* or Mr. Drinker (all whom often disagree with me politically), I find any talk of politics often spins into:
One or both parties stop listening. One talks, the other just waits to talk. Neither addresses the ideas or questions of the other.
2. Name calling
Liberal and Conservative are not bad words. True measured debate about issues is now replaced with labeling. Pinko, communist, Neocon, blah, blah.
3. Exposure of evil
Talk about policy and procedure is reduced to talk about intent. If you think the Head Start program is not effective then you must not only be against children learning.... you probably eat fried baby feet for breakfast. If you think the war in Iraq might be better executed you not only don't support the troops, the only person who hates America more than you is running North Korea. Enough, already. Learn to separate talk of policy from talk of intent.
4. No regard for language
Anything someone thinks is important becomes a "right" - the word "right" no longer has meaning. The "right" to health care, education, or to carry a concealed handgun. Couple this with simple things like separation of church and state and personal property rights being at best warped and it worse ignored...
5. Selective acceptance
Facts are fact if they support your position. They are unreliable and malleable if they support a view you disagree with.
Extremists like Pat Robertson, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and Tom Delay are dictating the landscape of the political debate.
7. Change of subject
If someone on the other side starts to make sense there is no need to listen, consider or even re-think. Just start talking about something else. There is no reason to have your answers match the question asked.
8. Preaching to the converted
Some only talk politics with people that agree with them already. What a great way to expand and learn!