Debate or not Debate

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

While getting set for the kick-off game on Monday between Team Hillary and Team Trump, an article on the background of how this superbowl came to be caught my eye.

The State of the Presidential Debate
How should candidates—and voters—argue about politics?
By Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

Aside from historic references, political insider tales and the discovery that a man named Ailes is still coaching debaters, it had other lessons worth sharing. The following excerpt seems applicable to recent discussions on the Trail:

“Political argument has been having a terrible century. Instead of arguing, everyone from next-door neighbors to members of Congress has got used to doing the I.R.L. equivalent of posting to the comments section: serially fulminating. The U.S. Supreme Court is one Justice short of a full bench, limiting its ability to deliberate, because Senate Republicans refused to hold the hearings required in order to fill that seat. They’d rather do battle on Twitter. Democratic members of Congress, unable to get the House of Representatives to debate gun-control measures, held a sit-in, live-streamed on Periscope. At campaign events, and even at the nominating Conventions, protesters have tried to silence other people’s speech in the name of the First Amendment. On college campuses, administrators, faculty, and students who express unwelcome political views have been fired and expelled. Even high-school debate has come under sustained attack from students who, refusing to argue the assigned political topic, contest the rules. One in three Americans declines to discuss politics except in private; fewer than one in four ever talk with someone with whom they disagree politically; fewer than one in five have ever attended a problem-solving meeting, even online, with people holding views different from their own. What kind of democracy is that?”

Will we individuals ever return to civil discourse, civil discussion and civil debate while civilly listening to those with whom we disagee let alone allow, expect and want that of our government leaders and representatives?

More Posts by PatD

Bennu: Asset or Bad Ass-teroid

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

NASA is probing to give us a scoop on what was and what might be.

According to the BBC, “The US space agency (Nasa) has launched a mission to retrieve a rock sample from a 500m-wide asteroid called Bennu.

Scientists hope the material will reveal details about the formation of the planets, and improve our knowledge of how potentially dangerous space objects move through the Solar System.

The probe, dubbed Osiris-Rex, blasted away from Florida on an Atlas rocket at 19:05 local time (00:05 BST).

It will be seven years before it returns to Earth with its bounty.”

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Osiris-Rex is not just bringing back a rock from Bennu but giving us an idea whether the threatening asteroid will be a hit or a miss for us on Earth.

Message to Congress


“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” [from “You Can’t Go Home Again” Thomas Wolfe]

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

Also because only 18% of the people approve of how you’ve done your job
(Gallup). 78% disapprove of the way you are taking their hard-earned money for barely showing up to work and for doing so very little when you do. That leaves 4% who don’t seem to know any more than you do about your responsibilities.