UNITED STATES—I remember in high school I was a member of the debate team and the one thing I learned is that when you debate someone you have to listen to the other side of the argument. You cannot just focus on your argument because there are pros and cons to everything. You might say, well, what does that mean? We live in a world nowadays where we no longer have healthy debates.

The debate gets downright nasty and ugly and it becomes so uncomfortable you just want to check out. I see this way too often on many of the news channels including FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, the list goes on and on. You have a panel of people chatting, and you have four people who are advocates for something, with one person against it. That is not fair and balanced if you’re asking me. What bothers me the most about debates is that people are so visceral, animated and sometimes berate their opponent in an effort to appear victorious?

You don’t win a debate overnight people, not to mention you cannot win by screaming and yelling at others. This has become the norm when we disagree with other people. We are not trying to HEAR anything they have to say, we cannot be bothered to have a civil conversation where we have to process the opposing views of someone we don’t agree with. Look, there is nothing wrong with having a debate; my argument is that we don’t debate with civil accord anymore.

My opinion matters, my opinion is correct and what you’re saying has no validity. That is a problem America. Remember an opinion is an opinion, it is NOT fact. So just because you say it does not make it correct, and trying to shove your point down the throat of your opponent doesn’t do you any favors either America. I do blame the media for this issue of fiery debates. The public sees it and instantly get this preconceived notion that this is what you do when you’re engaging in a conversation, debate or argument with someone.

What people fail to realize, is that many media outlets engage in such behavior because its dramatic, it brings flair, it makes their show stand out from all the others and people want to watch because they don’t know what’s going to happen. In essence its television; we all know TV is about ratings. It really doesn’t happen that way in real life. If you’re engaging in an actual healthy debate, the person who is advocating for something should speak first; let them lay out their argument first. There is NOTHING more annoying than when someone interrupts someone while they are initially speaking.

Give them a second to speak already. I hate when people just over talk people without even considering what they are doing. After they have presented their case, then the opposing party now has the opportunity to say how he or she feels. Let them lay out their argument against your viewpoints. After that has transpired, now you can engage in the back and forth to further decipher the issue at hand. That is how you actually debate someone without getting up in arms and ready to throw punches or fists.

You might think that is silly, but that is not the case, we have become overly violent in the world of debating. We don’t care how others feel or think, as long as we get our point across, that is all that matters. That is not healthy debating America, screaming to get your point across shows a lack of civility. That is the key word: we no longer have any civility for those who disagree with us and that is such a shame.

Written By Kelsey Thomas