Coronado students plan new approach to El Paso debates

Politics has never been more divisive. We as a nation have never been more divided.But instead of loathing these political woes, let’s fix them.

We emphasize the speaker, but not the words spoken. We judge politicians based on what they believe, not on what they can do.

Our current process for determining the most-qualified candidates focuses on the candidate’s ability to politic, not govern.

Instead of evaluating our prospective elected officials based on their intellectual and ethical abilities to work through real problems and offer practical solutions, we’re electing individuals based on their eloquence and general ideology.

This flawed political system narrows our focus to those that already agree with us, not to those most capable of providing independent thought and productive government.

For decades we as voters have looked to traditional debates and rehearsed lines as our main sources of information about candidates.

But what do these debates really show us? They show us who the best politicians are.

Today, WE(fillintheblank) — a non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing youth involvement in politics — offers an alternative to our traditional debate structure.

We offer an innovative type of discourse where political candidates will be intellectually and socially challenged.

Instead of hearing about how each candidate is firm in their ideological beliefs, we will have an opportunity to get inside the candidate’s mind. We will be able to see how and why candidates believe what they believe — unlike current debate styles that merely show us what they believe.

In this new form of debate, candidates will be individually asked to respond to an overarching issue of this election and then further pressed by the moderator to give an explanation of why they came to such a conclusion.

Candidates will be expected to provide a train of thought and logical reasoning to support their position.

The ultimate purpose of this innovative type of discourse is not to see which candidates agree with us. The purpose is to see what logical, scientific, and philosophical steps brought each candidate to his or her respective beliefs.

This new type of debate challenges our future leaders to show us their abilities to think and, ultimately, govern on our behalf.

There is no more appropriate venue for the first debate of this kind than the current race for the next El Paso County judge.

WE(fillintheblank) will be hosting a debate among Aliana Apodaca, County Judge Veronica Escobar, and city Rep. Eddie Holguin, Jr. on Thursday in the Coronado High School Fine Arts Auditorium. The event begins at 7 p.m.

Our elected officials ought to be able to think, discuss and govern in the most impartial and prudent of ways.

They should rise above party allegiance — unwavering in their dedication to the pursuits of truth and justice.

The El Paso community deserves better. We will change the way politics are done, and it starts this Thursday.

Story By Billy Dodd

Billy Dodd is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Current Coronado High School students Seth Krasne and Jasleen Shokar, who are members of WE(fillintheblank), contributed to this column.

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