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Live Political Debate


As presidential election season starts, eighteen months before the election, I start to listen, collect data, and have impassioned discussion about the merits and liabilities of the candidates. At this point I am very clear on who I trust, has the track record of integrity I like to see, and the social ethic that I think our country needs. I am thankful he stepped up to give himself as an option.

Because I live in a state far from the the nations Capitol, I often look to our local elections to satisfy my need for being part of the democratic process. When I was recently invited to go to a live debate for the Port of Seattle Commissioner Position #5 I was all in. At this debate there were eight candidates and only an hour and a half to get the most important topics covered – so little time for conversation on potential transformative work.

In Seattle our city is full of a diversity of opinions and action plans for our busy airport and seaport. The debate centered around these plans for our ports, as this is the job of the Commissioner. Thanks to a great moderator and the brevity of most of the candidates I was able to narrow my choice down to three options, with one stand out candidate. I noticed that as I watched these folks field direct and pointed questions, I was looking for the one with the same conviction and passion that I have towards living lightly on the earth – someone I thought would be a good leader and a person who would answer honestly and directly to their democratic electorate. The last part may seem simple but as the time ticked on it became clear that some were not there to answer the questions posed to them and others needed to be constantly reminded of the question at hand.

At the end of this process I paused to think about how awesome it would be if more people attended live political debates. While watching these folks I got to read their body language, listen to what they would do if elected, and see who naturally took the lead. What if we could gather the same amount of fans for a live debate that a professional football game gathers?! What if we could see how all candidates think on their feet, listen to the moderator in order to answer the question, and tell us what matters to them. Recently someone told me that they didn't like the idea of mandatory voting because he thought that the folks from his part of the country were too stupid to vote. My response proposal was mandating a level of understanding quiz along with each vote. What if in order to vote you had to name 3-5 issues that your desired candidate stood for and what they proposed to do to fix each issue? Maybe repeating what a candidate standards were would give us the pause we need to evaluate our choice.

Are you having conversations about the presidential elections? Can you name five things that aline you with your candidate of choice? What do you think about mandatory voting?

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