Civil Discourse Now

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Why trump can't debate: falsification and ...

Debate has been my life, since before the first high school tournament. It led to enlightenment. Our teams did pretty well. I learned how to work with others, because usually there are two people - not a ventriloquist and a dummy - on a debate team.

College debate was a blast. DePauw’s coach, Dr Weiss, was a great person and a mentor. He stressed values, but did not protest the trophies that fill shelves or plaques that hang on the walls of the trophy room in Greencastle.

I even coached, for several years after law school, at I.U.P.U.I. No matter the type of debate - NDT, CEDA, NEDA - or the topic, there were two rules no one could violate. Because trump violates these basic rules, he cannot debate. The rules?

Rule #1: Do not speak “over” - in two ways. First, you could not “run over” your time. When the “stop” card came up, you were to shut up. After that a debater’s comments are ignored. If the violations were continuous, a judge could give a loss.

Judges - usually coaches from other schools - were not shy about enforcement. trump - and in the VP debate this past week, pence - showed total disregard for this basic rule. Another aspect was - no one could speak “over” the other team.

Think of basketball. No one would say one team gets the ball the entire game. In debate, words are the heart of the medium. In all the years I competed and coached in debate, I never saw one team’s members talk to drown out the opponent.

Rule #2: Do not falsify. If a “death penalty” existed - in high school or college - in debate, it would have been meted out for falsifying evidence. We had quotes on 4" x 6" cards to argue the points in rounds. Sources for those quotes could be arcane or nutty.

But to lie meant loss of a round or possible suspension of a team from a tournament. trump can’t talk without lying. He’s an idiot who - according to his sister - hired somebody to take the SAT for him to get into Fordham. trump only can “win” an argument by screaming lies and interrupting his opponent. That is not debating.

trump can’t debate, but maybe he has a debate partner. Did I imaging it? Or, when trump has appeared with Putin for a press conference, every time trump speaks, is Putin drinking a glass of water? And Putin’s a murderer, but he’s no dummy.

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