An evening of civil discussion

Cal u Students gather for a political debate

James Rudolph, News Editor

This past Tuesday in the Performance Center at the Natali Student Center at 6 p.m., Cal U students engaged in a political debate. The College Republicans and The College Democrats held a debate, to which any Cal U student could attend and participate in. Representatives from each political group were asked a series of questions that covered a range of hot-bed political issues, such as the criminal justice system, economy, immigration, gun-control, and health care. 

The College Democrats was represented by President Christopher Lisle and Treasure Zachary Smith. President Cameron King, Secretary Alex Arnold, and Kearstin Feagley represented the College Republicans. Each side was allowed a three-minute opening statement at the beginning of the debate and a three-minute response to the moderator’s questions, to which the opposing side was allowed a one-minute rebuttal.

The opening statements from both sides contained very similar messages. Both King and Lisle expressed their concern on the division between political parties, and debates such as this are a great opportunity to engage in true civil discourse, without immediately attacking those with opposing viewpoints. As expressed by King and Lisle, there are key problems facing both sides.

“We both believe in bi-partisanship,” Lisle said.

On the topic of the presidency, the divide was visible. The Democrats heavily opposed Trump’s presidency and his legislation, citing how his success with job creation was a result of the Obama administration, and the potential of war with North Korea and/or Iran. The Republicans said his presidency lead to a boom in the economy, more employment for Hispanics, African-Americans and women, and a stronger stock market. The Republicans highlighted how reduced corporate tax-rates created jobs, and how food-stamp recipients are down to 7.2 percent. 

“People can do it themselves,” said Arnold, “and we are seeing that.” 

The Democrats indicated how inflation is up, as the price for things, such as groceries, are forcing people to buy less. Additionally, the Trump administration gutted government agencies, like the E.P.A and the F.D.A.

On immigration, particular on DACA, Democrats feel this is important to the growth of the U.S. While Republicans believe this as well, they also pose the question about the moral obligation to Americans that already live here. They see it as fiscally irresponsible, as the U.S. spends 116 billion dollars a year dealing with illegal immigration. However, the Democrats feel that this is not financially draining, as the potential to lose capital now is outweighed at the prospect of offering more immigrants a path to citizenship. 

When Healthcare came into question, the Republicans see the Affordable Care Act as harmful, as small business can’t afford to cover employee health care, leading them to not hire. Meanwhile, the Democrats showed how expensive health care can be, as health care can be more expensive than a home mortgage in some instances. The Republican side observed that health-care is a privilege and not a right, while the Democrats saw this as denying a person’s ability to live, since they can’t afford the health-care needed to take care of themselves

The Democrats and Republicans both agreed, some-what, on issues of public education and energy. Both the Democrat and Republican side agreed that clean-energy in the future, but the Republicans see the government subsidiaries as unfair to the fossil fuel industry, which needs a gradual transition into clean energy. The Democrats responded with focusing on a move to clean-energy and how new jobs will be created, to work those new energy gathering systems. Both sides agree that cutting funding from public schools is harmful to students and parents of public schools. 

While these are hot-bed issues, both the College Democrats and College Republicans conducted their debate with class and an open-mind, setting the example of how civil discourse is done. The event was moderated by Cal U Senior Daniel Beck.