Letter to the Editor

Debate is best

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dear Editor,

The best way to determine the merits of one candidate over the other is in a forum of open debate. ["Top local concerns" (http://www.mccook gazette.com/story/1164176.html)].

We voters should have the opportunity to observe each candidate's ability to formulate questions as well as respond to them. We should not only hear the candidates state their positions, but witness them articulate their defenses of them.

Since the purpose of a candidate is to represent us, shouldn't we elect someone who not only stands with us on the issues, but has the capability of convincing others that they are right? How better can we determine that than by witnessing their performance in a head-to-head verbal confrontation with their opponent?

By debate, I (mean) a forum in which the candidates themselves formulate the questions, respond to those of their opponents, and rebut the responses of their adversary. Delivering prepared responses to nice, slow, underhand softball pitches by a media representative can hardly be considered a debate.

The ability of our representatives to sway opinion is paramount. If they only provide a rubber stamp for their party leaders or special interest supporters, then they make a mockery of our democracy.

There is adequate time before this November's elections that the candidates for every office should be able to set up numerous face to face debates.

Should an incumbent claim to be too busy doing the work of the people, my response is that debating their opponent is an integral part of that responsibility.

There is no way the average citizen in a state the size of Nebraska can afford to travel long distances to attend such debates. Thus it is imperative that there be many of them in locations spread throughout the area represented.

Television, radio and print media must make the complete content of the debates available to the voters and not reduce them to a few quotes or soundbites.

Every minute of our lives is regulated by politics; yet, I would wager there are more Nebraskans who know the Huskers' starting lineup, and their stats, than can identify the candidates and their stands on the issues.

Democracy depends on us caring about our community, our state and our country, then electing those we trust to represent our interests.

Brian T. Osborn,

via e-mail

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