The Debate of Missed Opportunities

di Joe Volpe del May 9, 2018
TORONTO - First loser: the debate organizers who conceived the format of the debate. I am old-fashioned. I expected the exercise would inform the public. Debaters have a tough job no matter what. They don’t need to compete with dilettantes who are more concerned with “putting on a show” rather than allow an informative flow of style and substance in the contest.
If there has been a more embarrassing debate production in recent memory, it must have happened when my grandkids tried to advance, and grade, the differences between Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy western Civilization. Except for two, my grandchildren are all pre-teens.
Second loser: script writers (for each of the debaters) for their nonsensical approach to the presumed public gullibility or superficial attachment to serious issues. The electorate wants to know if the government has been a good and effective custodian of the public’s interest. It would be helpful if a contrast of substantive approaches were to emerge.
I realize the need to “stay on message” during a public debate or interview. It is a challenge at the best of times. But the electorate is being asked to choose the best. Why reduce your champion to a “mere utterer” of talking points that your focus group say will appeal to your own base? 
Does anyone seriously think that the best response to every question challenging your vision with “what would you do in…” should be “I wouldn’t do what you did”? Pleeaase. At least do a little bit of research. If the implication is that was done was wrong, seize the moment to explain how or why.
If you are an incumbent, like it or not, you are running on your record. That means you have facts/achievements the public can/should support. 
What are they? Let your acolytes pepper the public dialogue with tidbits of inconsistencies and character flaws. The Debates are your forum. Show you are in command.
Is anyone considering buying a wish list without making a minimal effort to cost it out? If you have an end goal in mind express with a conviction that excludes the epithet: “I’m not with them”.
Third loser: anyone who’s mind is not already made up. The choices that emerged last night were just (1) “I wouldn’t have” … (2) “I think I did”, and (3) “I wish I could”.
It is time the “campaign strategists” earned their money and did justice to their candidates.
 
 

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The outcome of "Make America Great again"?
di Redazione il August 15, 2017
TORONTO - It is too easy to fall prey to the intellectual laziness inspired by the Trump Presidency. And too easy to come up trite statements about his competency in the job (questionable), about “what possessed us to vote for him” (some still admit that they did), about his confusion regarding issues of importance to the Commonwealth (does he care?), about the outcomes of his petulant, truculent megalomania (they matter!).
 
Countries and Leaders often painted as thuggish now look a little less so in the context of the vacuum in US leadership. And Leadership, among other privileges and responsibilities bestowed upon those who exercise it, involves the obligation to identify what is morally right, promote it and discourage what is clearly wrong.  
 
This is not a partisan argument.
Reflect for a moment on the troubles visited upon the Catholic Church for the perceived and real intransigence in the face of documented abuses. Or the condemnation heaped upon the Muslim societies because Islamic religious leaders seem incapable or unwilling to decry violent behaviour of some of their followers.
 
Who could have imagined that in the middle of a “world crisis with nuclear implications”, the man entrusted with the most crucial role in resolving it would not have the ability to see the rot emerging beneath his own feet. That he would not have the ability to seize the moment and act decisively at home, where citizens need to understand collective, strategic purpose.
 

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