Sunday, August 26, 2007

today :The "National Debate"

Let's have a national debate. Actually lets bloody not have one. I'm sick of them. Every politician, every special interest group, every spokeperson seems to want to engender a national debate on whatever issue is cresting the the news wave that day.

The latest one is, of course given recent news events, a national debate about teenage gangs and gun crime. The things is that the people calling for a debate seem to understand the word debate about as well as teenage gang -bangers understand the word respect i.e. like bad meaning good, they perceive it to be pretty much the opposite of what it actually means.

When politicians call for a debate, what they are really calling for is nothing to happen. If they wanted a real debate they would set aside the one sentence solutions and sound bite sops and actually explore the notion that they might not have all the answers, and that a dialectical approach to opinion forming is actually the the way to go. Instead, they offer fixed lines of thought, reductive analyses of issues and skate the surface of any discussion with a level of skill that makes your average whirligig beetle seem like a drowning, flailing beginner.

Of course, the point isn't to have a debate. It's to not have a debate. The point is also to use debate as a tool of stalling and procrastination. Let's have a national debate. No. Let's instead demand that our politicians take some decisions and enact some solutions.

It's amazing how the complex, difficult topics with complex difficult causes and complex difficult solutions are always put out to debate. Is this because perhaps, they are just too difficult and complex for them to understand? therefore the increasing use of the national debate as a rhetorical device, which feigns action, considering, listening to the public, coming up with solutions etc whilst DOING absolutely nothing useful.

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