Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Debater on the Debate

Jed Glickstein, the 2004 National Forensics League champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate, gives his advice to candidates for their forthcoming debate. Considering that he's a more talenting speaker AND analyzer than either of the two candidates (or virtually any politician for that matter), they should listen up.

I particularly liked this soundbite:
"High school debate is a bunch of kids who dress up in suits on the weekend, and they pretend to talk about issues, but they really don't have any power. And political debate takes place between two of the most powerful people in the world, but they essentially don't talk about the issues, it's all very surface level."

Ironically, though I've spent four years spending the majority of my time researching, analyzing, writing, and debating about issues, I don't want to go into politics. I find it all fascinating, but after observing politics for so long I've realized that knowing information and having coherent arguments is at best irrelevant to the electoral process and at worst harmful (ex: Gore 2000). Being knowledgable and insightful makes you "the class nerd," "aloof," "unable to connect to the average American," and worst of all, might force you to take a position that doesn't pander to the right interest group. I can guarentee you that the best high school debaters, if they debated the way they did in rounds, would never win a single election anywhere in the country. It's not because they know too little, its because they know too much, and they aren't afraid to let it be known.


Anonymous said...

Surprisingly though, Kerry seems to be taking a lot of his debater skills into the political arena, including that continual desire to know more and more.

Kerry as the Boss: Always More QuestionsYour comment on that reminded me of that particular article, which I thought you might enjoy.

Also, as a debater, I come to it from a slightly different angle... of course, turning my back on LD no doubt completely changed my perspective. If anything, I think that debate has driven me to be better prepared to convey the ideals that I already do feel strongly about. However, I've found that in much of the debate community (and I am speaking on more of a regional than national level), people simply don't have those same strong convictions, at least in the political sense.

Regardless, I plan on being the presidential candidate who knows too much. And who has estrogren.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I forgot to sign my comment!

This is Julia Kamenetzky with a "K".

Anonymous said...

Well said.