Dialogue > Debate

In a country where individual efficacy is diminishing, there needs to be a change in the way democracy is executed. Through small interest groups, technical expertise and low voter turnout, the United States of America is a democracy that takes away the power of the citizen.

In order to change society and democracy, the educated person needs to step away from the concept of debate to a more dialogue-driven discussion.

For a democratic society, debate is not the most effective way to achieve effective legislation. In debate, statistics tend to be skewed in order to convey a point. This is because debate is oppositional, and dialogue is collaborative.

In debate, one person’s end goal is to prove somebody wrong instead of coming to a common understanding. In effective dialogue, the educated person can look at both sides of an argument and seek an effective solution.

For instance, Congress has a hard time making progress because its members are too afraid of giving up on their sides. The current means of evaluating politicians is by how successfully they pass their bills, or how strongly they stick to their ideals.

Recently, they have proved that there is a contract made by specific lobbyists and signed by congressmen saying that they will not sign a bill that would increase taxes. This is debate taking over and dialogue disappearing. While debate is good for entertainment, it decreases efficiency.

Compromise, in Congress, is seen as failure for politicians. It means that they were unable to convince the others of their positions.

In dialogue, compromise is the end goal. This finds the best solution for every variance in society. Dialogue in the group finds the strength in all positions, where debate only focuses on one position.

This is a solution that encompasses more than just politicians; this can help students here at Puget Sound, and professors as well. If we set up class discussion and social interaction with a more dialogue -centered communication, the amount of information we can grasp will be that much larger.

There are multiple times in class discussion where two students tend to go at it to prove one of their points.

Where this proves that the two students know the topic, it is by far not the most productive way the class discussion could be set up. If they look purely at the content and reach to come with a common agreement rather than search out to prove their point, the knowledge from that text will be truly absorbed.

Puget Sound is  a very opinionated campus. From observation from classroom and social forums, the average student could be enhanced by this improved form of discourse.

Today’s world is very black and white. This creates a system of binaries that have tertiary solutions. If educated people empower themselves with the strength of dialogue it would allow for a more open-minded attitude.

Today, for a politician to admit that he was wrong on a subject would be suicide. If there were more of a communal dialogue between the two parties, it would lead to trying to find strengths in arguments rather than flaws. This would increase the chance of reaching a collaborative idea, which is best for the whole.

Educated people need to demand, through dialogue, more power than they are currently getting.