I do not normally watch any of these shows, but “Meet the Press” was on while I had breakfast this morning and I had an amazing revelation.
First a brief description about these shows. It seems the formula that works is to put opposite views (Republican, Democrat) on each side of the table and then they debate various topics such as Iraq. However, what occurred to me is that they are always different American views! The revelation was that I have never ever seen a citizen of the country being debated actually participate!!!!!
In this age of technology, wouldn’t it be great to have differing views from citizens of the country in question included!! As there is no representation now, even two college students would do. From my experience abroad, I am always awestruck when I learn about how the other side thinks and what they teach which is always completely different from information I received in America. Take Vietnam for example,, even though I spent a large part of my life in American education I never once learned about the positive aspects of Ho Chi Minh and why he believed what he did. It was always one sided. The debates these shows have are simply two sides of the coin from the same American viewpoint. I’m sure a debate between educated Iraqis’ about the American invasion would prove so much more enlightening than people in Washington DC defending the Republican and Democrat viewpoints and would garner a huge audience.
The only time I can think of that an extreme opposite view was given the chance to speak was that of the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was allowed to speak at Columbia University. The fact that he was even allowed to speak was EXTREMELY controversial and to play well with the home audience the President of Columbia University disparaged Ahmadinejad before letting him speak.
This quote really drives my point home.
“Think of the irony,” said Mitch McConnell. “Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth understanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas, is bringing to its campus a state sponsor of terror.”
Think of the irony of using that statement and “the free exchange of ideas” then saying it is wrong to allow the President of another country to express his ideas. Mr. McConnell apparently does not understand what the word “Irony” means. It would be “ironic” for an institution that values “the free exchange of ideas” to NOT allow the ideas of an individual to be expressed!!!!!! But perhaps the telling phrase here is “an in-depth understanding of Western Civilization, which therefore only includes Western ideas and not that of any other. In which case his use of “Irony” would be correct in that “the free exchange of ideas” only encompasses those ideas which come from the West and therefore does not include any ideas from Iran.
To be sure, the President of Iran doesn’t seem like such a good guy and the people of Iran hate their own government but he was democratically elected and the mantra of the USA has been to promote freedom and democracy. It just doesn’t work out very well when the “free people” elect a baddy. I’m sure the politicians in Washington are at one moment very pleased with themselves and then after the election is over are quite consternated. At that point it would seem much better to revert back to the other quiet policy of supporting an American friendly dictator like Musharraf (Pakistan) who overthrew an elected government!!!
Message to the creators of these shows:
You would do well to include citizens of the countries you debate in your shows. To me, it currently seems like you include people who have achieved PhDs’ on the subject but neither speak the language nor have ever been to the physical location of the subject of their studies. To simplify, it would be like a non English speaking Japanese who has studied about San Francisco but has never walked one of it’s many hills. Why would I listen to him???