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Political Debate, Or Beauty Contest?

Beauty pageant.

1) Introduction

Is it just me and my very limited political experience in "Soviet Quebekistan", or are real political debates becoming more and more rare? It seems to me there are many means whereby real political debates are being damaged, and even eliminated.

First, there is the general trend toward replacing substance with entertainment, that we can observe on the radio and on TV, even with our taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

Second, there is the very un-democratic propensity to replace local debates between all the candidates in an electoral riding, with Nation-wide "Leader's Debates", such that ordinary voters can never see and touch the actual persons who will represent them in Parliament. That deserves a whole article in itself, since eliminating locality tends to disconnect the voters from their democracy, while aggravating several harmful tendancies, like voting along party lines (each Member of Parliament is perceived more and more like a plain "Voting Token" in the pocket of the Party Leader).

A third mean is to only admit to the debate representatives of the established political parties, who of course do not threaten the status quo. New political parties with good ideas are rejected, as well as independant candidates who could represent their local riding excellently. The democratic system becomes petrified, and unable to renew itself, since anything that could challenge the Establishment is nipped in the bud.

All these means of attacking our democratic system are evil, but in this article I want to focus on what might be even more evil: events which appear to be political debates, but which in fact are not.

2) What is a beauty pageant?

Many people laugh when I say: "That was not a political debate, that was a beauty pageant". How could it be a beauty pageant, with no pretty girls keeping their mouths shut and showing off their beauty, and plenty of old ugly guys talking, and talking, and talking?

To see this, consider the "structure" of a beauty pageant. There are contestants (like a political debate), and there are spectators (also like a political debate). But the contestants do not interact with each other. One pretty girl does not "do battle" against another pretty girl by giving "beauty-kicks" or "prettyness-punches". They just take turns parading in front of judges. Normally, they will all parade one-by-one, then the Master of Ceremonies will announce something like: "And now, after seeing them in their evening gowns, let's see them in bikinis!", and all the pretty girls go and change, and come back to parade one-by-one in front of the judges, but with a different outfit.

At the end of the contest, normally a very small group of judges will decide who is the prettiest, and the winner gets some plastic crown and a bouquet of flowers, etc.

3) Was that a debate?

Compare this with what passes as "debates" these days. Often the politicians are not even allowed to interact with each other. The moderator asks a question (never a tough question, since the moderator is usually hired by a Leftist broadcaster!), and all the politicians, one-by-one, will do a little "beauty parade" with an answer. Then after they have all spoken, the moderator will announce another question, as if it was another outfit ("And now, the bikinis!"). So all politicians will go change their answer and start another round of little "beauty parades", one-by-one.

At the end, especially if this is on television, the program will stop and switch over to a panel of "experts", who are asked (as if they were the beauty pageant judges) to pick a winner. Normally, the actual flesh-and-blood spectators who were in the room (if there were any) are not asked to vote. That would be too democratic! With a panel of "experts" (chosen by the broadcaster!), you can far more easily manipulate the results! And of course, these "experts" usually swoon over the performance of their Leftist darlings!

4) Conclusion

Just as we cannot survive long without breathing, democracies cannot survive long without real debates!

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