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Why our Politicians need to be in Debate Camp.

by Erik Fogel | Aug 2, 2017 7:00:00 AM |

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This week we celebrated all our debaters at the Manhattan Debate Institutes - elementary school debaters, middle school debaters, and high school debaters attended debate camp at Hunter College and the Silberman School of Social Work. From North Korea to television to US education policy - our students spoke, wrote, listened, debated, researched, questioned on these topics and many more. 

While the week was inspiring at debate camp. Outside it was not. On Wednesday, the President tweeted his decision to ban transgender individuals from the military. Regardless of individual politics and whether you voted or did not vote for Trump, both the Democrats and the Republicans were shocked at the rollback on civil rights and shocked that such a policy decision be announced in a few seconds twitter tirade. Republican war hero, Senator John McCain, proclaimed, "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military - regardless of their gender identity." One day later (Thursday) the head of the Boy Scouts made a national apology for Trump's remarks during the National Jamboree. The President was criticized for "bullying, name-calling, and swearing" and politicizing in a speech towards children. And a day later (Friday) the President in speaking to law enforcement encouraged the use of excessive force with dealing with criminal suspects.  Police Departments across the nation quickly condemned his remarks and the threat toward individual rights. And on Monday, the President hushed a female reporter "Be Quiet," not much a few weeks before he had bullied another female reporter and claimed she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift."
The sad thing is none of this is new.  The so called "leader of the free world" has gone on record of bragging about harrassing women  (“when you’re a star they let you do it.. grab them by the [explitive]. You can do anything.”… “Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”).  Calling women and his female political opponents "fat", "pigs", "dogs", "slobs", "ugly", "bimbos", "buildings", and “young and beautiful piece of ass.”  The list of course goes on but we do not have the time. To be fair he has defended himself…  “I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist” “but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”


The even sadder reality is a national tolerance and endorsement for this language and behavior.


This is not a partisan issue. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is not about whether who you voted for in the Presidential election. This is not about whether you are for "Obamacare" or against. This is about how we communicate to each other, how we respect each other, how we discuss, debate and implement policy.


Every citizen needs to be a Great Debater.  If we are not educated in evidence, argument, current events, rhetoric, diversity of perspective, language, questioning and justice- all of the core debate skills - that is where sexism, racism, intolerance, and prejudice feed and fester upon the ignorant. 


Our President and all our Politicans can learn much from our debaters and should definitely participate in a debate camp. Policy should not be dictated on twitter. Policy must be researched, discussed, and debated. Individual rights cannot be trampled upon, but advocated for. Public speaking and communication skills require respect first and foremost.  

So shout outs to our Debaters and everyone who made debate camp possible in supporting our next generation of leaders. 
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