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Debate Better


One good thing about the close coverage given to politicians by the media, whether it is screeching debates on TV, or speeches in Parliament, or even coverage of public meetings, the people get the opportunity to gauge the intellectual calibre of their representatives and their understanding of issues. As a result, a substantial section of the electorate is becoming more mature and less likely to be deceived or stampeded in any direction. No matter how much news anchors or reporters put their spin on issues people can hear directly what the leaders have to say. Most of whom are found wanting.

In contrast, there are the few who seem to have an understanding of the subject and an idea of what needs to be done. The voters who are not tied blindly because of caste, community or ideological reasons to the various parties and are of independent disposition are better able to judge whom and which cause to support. This is evident from the fact that, outside of the immediate impact of an outbreak based on emotional issues, people can hold an objective view of things.

Then there are the politically correct fanatics who, according to their various ideological leanings, attempt to push issues and opinions out of the debate altogether. Some of these are so dominant that, on several subjects, the dissenting or alternative opinion is completely shouted out. Sometimes, the excluded opinion is of those who may be described as the primary stake-holders on an issue. So very often, it is sheer prejudice, ignorance and popular misconception that inspire these attitudes, instead of real information. Much of the debate, currently, is marked by such one-sidedness, particularly on social media. This distorts the truth – a situation that is made worse by the role of money and arm-twisting behind the scenes.

The people have the biggest stake in healthy and all-encompassing debates. Nothing suits the politicians or those claiming to influence opinion more than staged discussions in which a particular point of view is snubbed or shouted out. There are also certain fallacies and pre-conceptions that are considered givens in mainstream electronic media, which queer the debate to a considerable and unhealthy extent. There are many examples of this and it requires smart spokespersons to restore balance to the debate.
It would be good if the debating and anchoring culture were to improve, because the people deserve to be well informed. Too many of those ‘representing’ parties or issues are not up to the mark and are there for reasons other than ability, or because they are masters of obfuscation. The parties that ring the changes quickly will stand to benefit.