The Oval: Debates

Good afternoon.

They say America has a vigorous democratic system.

We hold elections.

We have a free press.

We see elected leaders go to town halls.

And if you want to be president, you have to do a few debates.

A debate sounds like an argument…

And in theory, it is one.

But presidential debates aren’t really arguments.

They’re just a series of short speeches.

Each candidate tries to pick apart the other guy…

Each candidate tries to offend the fewest people…

But in the end, you never hear a candidate deviate from their talking points.

You never hear a candidate say: “I guess you’re right about that one.”

Debates are not held so that candidates come to agreement.

That’s not the point!

The people who put on debates – the media – don’t want the candidates to agree…

They want a good brawl!

They want dramatic, unscripted moments!

It makes for better TV. Better ratings.

But not a better country.

Look, I’m not saying we need a kumbaya “let’s all get along” session with the candidates.

The reason we have elections is because we have to hold our political leaders accountable.

And give new ideas a hearing.

And if those new ideas prove to be unconvincing, well, that’s why presidents get re-elected.

But can’t debates do more than merely reinforce what we already know about the candidates?

Why don’t we have debates which are real debates?

In a classic debate, the participants have to prepare to argue both sides of the same issue. Then, right before the debate… they are told to stick to one side or the other.

Pro-death penalty, or anti… you prepare to argue either case. On Monday, you argue pro. On Tuesday, you argue anti.

Now, wouldn’t it be interesting if we had the candidates – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – prepare to argue both sides of the same issue?

The federal government is too big – agree or disagree?

“President Obama, you have to argue that it’s too big tonight. Let’s see how you do with that one.”

“Governor Romney, you get to argue that it’s too small. Have fun!”

Wouldn’t that be something?

You’d have political leaders take positions with which they disagree… and do their best job explaining themselves.

It would be revealing.

For one thing, it would tell us whether a candidate has a brain in their head.

It’s easy to memorize what someone tells you to say. It’s hard to make a compelling case against those things you believe already.

You have to have an imagination. You have to think quickly. You have to know the facts – and understand that the facts can be interpreted in many different ways.

You can’t present the argument of the other side as an absurd straw man – easily knocked down by the first puff of wind.

You have to respect both sides of an issue. It takes maturity.

You might even learn to question those principles you hold dear.

Sure, a debate like that might test our candidates more on their logic and arguing skills than their beliefs, but we don’t need a debate to know what the candidates say they believe.

They put out position papers. Their parties write platforms – or re-write them, as the case may be.

Debates aren’t there so people can find out what candidates BELIEVE.

They’re held so we can see whether candidates can handle the PRESSURE.

Debates are about the theater, right?

They’re about whether these candidates can think on their feet… can deliver a good line without a teleprompter… can out-maneuver their opponent… can handle criticism with grace.

So… why not switch roles and positions, just to make things interesting?

At the very least, it would be better than what we have now.

It would give us a window into the way our presidential candidates think through problems…

Weigh evidence…

Acknowledge doubt…

And whether they even understand the issues they talk about.

You’d certainly get us some dramatic moments.

What if Mitt Romney had to defend Obamacare?

What if Obama had to attack it?

What if the candidates were asked whether the US should stay and fight in Afghanistan until the Taliban were defeated?

I’m not even sure what the candidates actually believe on this issue, so it might be good to just assign them a position and see how they do with it.

We could do something even more dramatic. We could ask the candidates to edit each other’s answer!

Let’s say they ask President Obama: “What does America owe its citizens?”

He’ll give his answer.

And rather than Romney giving his own view to the same question, what if he tried to give Obama’s answer, but in a more convincing way?

It would be quite a test. Because we would be able to tell, right away, whether a candidate can see the world through someone else’s eyes. Do they have a better vision to achieve the same goal?

My point is that we need to get the candidates to address the issues, and take a stand.

No more splitting the middle.

No more mixed signals.

No more mushy, focus grouped language.

I’ll tell you one thing: It would be a lot easier to decide who “won” a debate. You won’t need some media talking head to tell us that Candidate X had a better answer on Social Security.

You’d know it right away. You’d see it right away.

Look: This office is occupied by people for four years. The issues of 2012 aren’t necessarily going to be the issues of 2016.

The world will have new crises. Our economy will look differently. The president, whoever he is, will be tested in new ways.

If there’s one thing we know about the Presidency, it’s this: You can’t predict what issues a president will face.

But you should be able to predict how he’ll face them.

Today’s debates don’t do a very good job of helping us make that prediction.

We could do it better… maybe one day, they’ll try a new approach.

Thanks for watching.

God bless you, and may God bless the Republic.

Terry Trobiani owns Gianelli's Drive Thru in Prairie Grove, Illinois, where he put up a row of American flags for the Fourth of July. But the city claimed he was displaying two of them improperly and issued him a $100 ticket for each flag.

Terry joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to explain what he believes really happened. He told Glenn that, according to city ordinance, the American flag is considered "ornamental" and should therefore have been permitted on a federal holiday. But the city has now classified the flag as a "sign."

"Apparently, the village of Prairie Grove has classified the American flag as a sign and they've taken away the symbol of the American flag," Terry said. "So, as a sign, it falls under their temporary sign ordinance, which prohibits any flying, or any positioning of signs on your property — and now this includes the American flag. [...] The only way I could fly the American flag on my property is if I put it on a permanent 20 to 30-foot flagpole, which they have to permit."

Terry went on to explain how the city is now demanding an apology for his actions, and all after more than a year of small-business crushing COVID restrictions and government mandates.

"COVID was tough," Terry stated. "You know, we're in the restaurant business. COVID was tough on us. We succeeded. We made it through. We cut a lot of things, but we never cut an employee. We paid all our employees. I didn't take a paycheck for a year just to keep our employees on, because it was that important to me to keep things going. And, you know, you fight for a year, and you beat a pandemic, and then you have this little municipality with five trustees and a president, who just have no respect for small businesses. And right now, what I see is they have no respect for the republic and the United States ... I think it's terrible. The direction that government, at all levels, have taken us to this point, it's despicable."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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The Biden administration is now doing everything it can to censor what it has decided is COVID-19 "misinformation." But Glenn Beck isn't confident that the silencing of voices will stop there.

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, where there is no freedom of speech, and she joined Glenn to warn that America must not let this freedom go.

"Whenever authoritarianism rises, the first thing they go after is freedom of speech," she said.

Watch the video clip below from "The Glenn Beck Podcast" or find the full episode with Yeonmi Park here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Most self-proclaimed Marxists know very little about Marxism. Some of them have all the buzzwords memorized. They talk about the exploits of labor. They talk about the slavery of capitalist society and the alienation caused by capital. They talk about the evils of power and domination.

But they don't actually believe what they say. Or else they wouldn't be such violent hypocrites. And we're not being dramatic when we say "violent."

For them, Marxism is a political tool that they use to degrade and annoy their political enemies.

They don't actually care about the working class.

Another important thing to remember about Marxists is that they talk about how they want to defend the working class, but they don't actually understand the working class. They definitely don't realize that the working class is composed mostly of so many of the people they hate. Because, here's the thing, they don't actually care about the working class. Or the middle class. They wouldn't have the slightest clue how to actually work, not the way we do. For them, work involves ranting about how work and labor are evil.

Ironically, if their communist utopia actually arrived, they would be the first ones against the wall. Because they have nothing to offer except dissent. They have no practical use and no real connection to reality.

Again ironically, they are the ultimate proof of the success of capitalism. The fact that they can freely call for its demise, in tweets that they send from their capitalistic iPhones, is proof that capitalism affords them tremendous luxuries.

Their specialty is complaining. They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They sneer at Christianity for promising Heaven in exchange for good deeds on earth — which is a terrible description of Christianity, but it's what they actually believe — and at the same time they criticize Christianity for promising a utopia, they give their unconditional devotion to a religion that promises a utopia.

They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They think capitalism has turned us into machines. Which is a bad interpretation of Marx's concept of the General Intellect, the idea that humans are the ones who create machines, so humans, not God, are the creators.

They think that the only way to achieve the perfect society is by radically changing and even destroying the current society. It's what they mean when they say things about the "status quo" and "hegemony" and the "established order." They believe that the system is broken and the way to fix it is to destroy, destroy, destroy.

Critical race theory actually takes it a step farther. It tells us that the racist system can never be changed. That racism is the original sin that white people can never overcome. Of course, critical race theorists suggest "alternative institutions," but these "alternative institutions" are basically the same as the ones we have now, only less effective and actually racist.

Marx's violent revolution never happened. Or at least it never succeeded. Marx's followers have had to take a different approach. And now, we are living through the Revolution of Constant Whining.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

Americans are losing faith in our justice system and the idea that legal consequences are applied equally — even to powerful elites in office.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he believes will come next with the Durham investigation, which hopefully will provide answers to the Obama FBI's alleged attempts to sabotage former President Donald Trump and his campaign years ago.

Rep. Nunes and Glenn assert that we know Trump did NOT collude with Russia, and that several members of the FBI possibly committed huge abuses of power. So, when will we see justice?

Watch the video clip below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.