1. I haven’t watched presidential debates since the first one I could vote in. For years I felt like I was shirking my duty, so this year I made a promise to watch. But it took all of two minutes to identify why I gave up on the debates in the first place. It’s exactly what you’re saying. If ever there was going to be a venue for reasoned discussion of the issues, this ought to be it. And yet the entire time is wasted on zingers and sound bites. Someone asks a question, and the candidates ignore it in favor of repeating the same things they say everywhere else. Waste of time, IMO.

    • Hi Kathleen, good to hear from you! I think Karl Keating’s comments about the format are right on point here. They do these goofy “town hall” debates for some reason, which are really just opportunities to regurgitate talking points to someone who effectively represents a special interest group and make promises that will likely not be kept. I seem to remember a time when the format was similar to what Karl suggests, and the debates were worthwhile. Or, maybe it was all just a dream. ;-)

  2. Beautiful, Joel, just beautiful!

    I am going to share part of this with my class, tomorrow.
    I teach a class of mostly college juniors and seniors that is designed to develop their rhetorical thinking, writing and presenting skills. In this class, they learn about the basis of ‘arguments’ (not arguing) – and are supposed to analyze arguments – the claims, evidence, and action. For extra credit, they watched the debates and chose one question to analyze each candidate’s response and argument.

    Many have complained about the level of thought required in the class. Those who plan to be part of social services/welfare organizations tell me about how they are “just not into politics” and assignments that require reading an opinion piece are “really hard because I just don’t think about that.”

    My response: I know. You are 21 years old. Thus far, you haven’t been required to exercise your mind like this. But you are entering a world and workforce very dependent on policies and politics. You must be able to analyze arguments, to find reasons for/against issues.

    I think your piece will really speak to them; it did to me, anyway. It was very encouraging. And, you’re right about seeking entertainment and not fulfillment. How will people realize their hunger for righteousness and truth, if they just keep satiating themselves with garbage?

  3. Hi Jessica, good to hear from you! Indeed, we suffer from a lack of critical thinking. I used to see the very same thing as a graduate teaching assistant. I think your response to them is right on the money.

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