The state of politics in the US, particularly with the still overloaded GOP slate, with the far too frequent bouts of name-calling and finger-pointing, the implied lack of sexual ability that has been, unapologetically, thrown around, and the continued assertions, by the GOP and by the Sanders supporters that Clinton must be guilty of something without much in the way of actual evidence has – besides making my head explode – led me to off a few reminders of what rational debate is supposed to be.
I realize that primary season is early days, but seriously – there is a very severe shortage of reasons to vote for any of the candidates beyond one not being the other. And, although the Democrats have kept it a bit more polite, they are not blameless. But the GOP wins the prize. The debates, ostensibly about the issues, are about the personalities. And they are not sharing the better aspects of those. This may not be the most mud-slinglingly contentious political season that the US has experienced in its history (for there had been many), but it certainly is in the last few decades. And the fact that we are in the sound-bite driven instant communication world that find ourselves in, makes it seem that much worse. And louder. And continual. And in this gilded age of instant information and manufactured outrage, Trump gets more attention than the other candidates, and more than he should, because he is being treated as both news and entertainment.
I was particular perturbed on Thursday, when former GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney blasted Donald Trump. There are reasons why the RNC should not have used Romney to make their case. He really was overjoyed when Trump endorsed him in 2012. And he is a billionaire, and therefore part of the ‘establishment’ that the disaffected Trump (and Sanders) supporters are fighting. And he lost the election in 2016 because, although he seems like a decent enough guy, he clearly had problems relating with the voters outside of his more rarified social strata. But his message was largely correct. And yet, even my non-Trump supporting conservative friends immediately set about bashing his ‘hypocrisy’. Seriously?! This is new paradigm in American politics – actually in America in general – ignore the message, attack the messenger. I urge you all to remember the words of Maria von Ebner-Eschenbach “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day“
And here, again re the 10 Commandments of Logic. Also referred to as the 10 Commandments of Rational Debate. Which we could use a bit more of these days.