Debate Etiquette

A debate is an opportunity to formally discuss opposing opinions on a partithcular topic in public or legislative assemblies.   Debaters should handle themselves with dignity and show respect for their opponents at all times.

I am disappointed to report dignity and respect have been absent in the most recent highly viewed presidential debates.  The behavior of some of the candidates has been appalling and embarrassing. Our leaders, and potential leaders, at all levels of government should always display the highest level of conduct when speaking in public.  The world is watching.  America is watching.  Young people, who are tomorrow’s leaders, are watching.

We cannot continue to accept low standards for the presidential candidate debates.  This is not regularly televised entertainment.  This is the future of  THE United States of America.

Here are a few basic etiquette tips to follow in any debate setting: (If we’re lucky, a presidential candidate will stumble upon them and implement them in their next debate opportunity so we are not subjected to poor behavior again.)

  1. Never publicly disagree or argue with the mediator.
  2. Never offend, disrespect, or insult another debater or mediator.
  3. Do not speak out of turn or interrupt another debater or mediator.
  4. Present facts truthfully.  Do not falsify or distort the facts.
  5. Stay focused on the topic or question up for debate.
  6. Do not become emotional in your appeals.
  7. Control your tone of voice.
  8. Avoid quarreling and bickering. Do not point fingers at anyone.
  9. Focus on the topic, not another debater or mediator.
  10. Avoid personal attacks.
  11. Do not discuss physical attributes or limitations.

There are complete books written on the art of debate.  The above tips only brush the surface of the topic.  Always use the Golden Rule.  Treat the other person in the same manner you wish to be treated.  Act dignified and show respect.



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