Friday, October 10, 2008

Debating the Debates

The question of debate participation has plagued us for a long time. As long as the Commission on Presidential Debates is comprised only of Republicans and Democrats, we will never get in. They know that they can not stand to have another instance of a Ross Perot showing them up. My older brother once said that it was a debate between 2 politicians and a mad man but the crazY was the only one talking any sense.

But there is more to it... as you might find out if you click read more.

All across the nation, various organizations from the League of Women Voters to the Chambers of Commerce and various media corporations host debates for a number of offices. In general, they are all very much designed to narrow the field to a Republican and a Democrat. Let me give you a couple of additional references beyond what I wrote last night.

At the University of California, there was a mock presidential debate. The following is a description of the event by Edward Chow, head of the Campus Greens in Berkeley.
Yesterday, a handful of student groups co-sponsored "The Great Debate" featuring representatives from the Cal Berkeley Democrats and the Berkeley College Republicans. When I found out about this event over two weeks ago, I immediately contacted the Students for Ralph Nader, Cal Libertarians, and Students for Ron Paul to collectively demand that the debate includes third parties. The debate co-sponsors denied our request but admired our "audacity" to ask in the first place. I found out last week that all four Executive Board members of our student government were upset that debate sponsors denied our request before consulting them (our student government also co-sponsored the event).

Two days ago, I received a call from The Daily Californian, which gets about 42,000 readers per day, about running an Op-Ed about third party exclusion from debates.

This morning, the following was published in the print and online versions of the Daily Cal. (Follow the link to read... It's worth your time.)

There are also articles in today's issue about the actual debate last night and our 7-week voter registration drive

Here is my beef. I know that this is a group of student groups, and not the university it self. However, it was co-sponsored by the Student Government and took place on public property. As a tax payer in the State of California, as a supporter of education... especially in the sciences... I am upset, but not surprised, that the University policy would allow this exclusion. The Free Speech Movement started at Berkeley. It looks like some student groups need to study their own history.

No comments: