adventures of my mind

Debate Destruction

September 22nd, 2008 by | Word Count: 703 | Reading Time 2:49 1,973 views

Over the last 10-20 years, something has changed in our country’s way of thinking. People at one point in time, were able to enter into rational debates without seeing them careen off into an ideological slugfest with no chance of compromise from either side. Today, our society seems to be hell-bent on winning everything, no matter what the costs. Winning no longer means what is best for everyone involved, but the absolute submission or domination of the opposition person, group, or ideology. When did intolerance become a national personality prerequisite?

I’ll admit that I am guilty of being uncompromising on certain topics (abortion being one of them), but for the vast majority of other issues, I am willing to compromise when given an agreeable solution that actually helps people. I like to think that each and every one of us falls into this mold. There are some topics that are just divisive and always will be because of their roots in religious belief or moral and ethical makeup. But, it seems as our country progresses forward, we are making every single debate or difference a core division amongst ourselves.

I like the color blue and you may not. Does that mean that I must berate you and demean your intelligence level because, of course, all rational people must love the color blue? We can replace the argument with any topic and it fits the mold of how we are living. If other people do not agree with our idea, then of course they must be 100% wrong and must be corrected by submission or defeat at all costs.

Our current political process has succumbed to this theory of ideological submission and defeat. The other party is wrong, completely wrong, and they must be deported for their traitorous rhetoric. At least that is how they would like us to believe as voters. No way could the opposing party have anything substantial to bring to the table. Why? Because they are the enemy! Somehow over the years, our parties have been categorized as follows: Republicans – gun toting war nuts in search of oil so they can make their friends as wealthy as kings (oh, they are also homophobes intent on forcing women to give up their “right” of abortion). Democrats – tree hugging, drug legalizing, baby murdering, robin hoods intent on stealing your wealth and taking your guns away (and oh yeah, they are all communists).

With such trumped up sensationalistic ideology running rampant about both parties, isn’t it hard to believe and vote for either one? The media does nothing but try and hammer home the stereotypes listed above. There is no need to listen to politicians anymore. All you have to do is check which party they are affiliated with and that’s all you need to know right? That’s what they are hoping for. They do not want an informed society with an understanding of the middle ground. Middle ground is not a case for winning. It’s a case for compromise.

As the goal of winning at all costs being the decisive factor, all we will ever get is the kind of society splitting arguments we see pushing each of us farther apart. It’s in all of our lives, not just in politics. We must recapture our ability to debate without total annihilation of the “enemy” being the necessary outcome. Assuming that we all want our country to benefit from our existence, our goal should be what makes the country stronger, or what makes our society healthier, or what makes us come together more as a nation. Destroying the enemy as being the key to victory will only make those concepts unattainable.

We can easily see where divisive living brings us: deteriorating economy, foreign policy hatred, high divorce rates, broken families, and parentless homes. Our financial markets and political process are not the only victims of our country’s focus upon winning ideological debates. Our homes and families have also become victims. In the end, we are all paying the price because we have failed to realize that living together in harmony means more than being victorious in a spiteful debate over ideas. Winning is not everything, in life or in sports.

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