Editorial: Distasteful discourse at District 68 debate

Posted 2/28/19

Public discourse is a beautiful thing. Angry, spirited, divisive or uplifting, it is woven into the fabric of things that make America great.

A debate between candidates for House District 68 …

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Editorial: Distasteful discourse at District 68 debate

Posted

Public discourse is a beautiful thing. Angry, spirited, divisive or uplifting, it is woven into the fabric of things that make America great.

A debate between candidates for House District 68 Monday night provided a great opportunity for public discourse. At times raucous and loud, the debate featured four candidates with divergent views.

They don’t agree on legalized marijuana, abortion laws, state government, the minimum wage, tax policy or much else. Putting them together for an hour of dialogue and debate creates great theater, and it can be remarkably informative and insightful.

Yet it can also be unraveled by citizens who can’t control themselves and who behave rudely. Throughout the evening, the audience cheered and applauded, both the candidates and their views.

But also throughout the evening, citizens hooted and hollered, interrupted and undermined. They were rude and disruptive, putting an ugly face on what should be a civil gathering.

The moderator should have done a better job controlling the crowd and tossing people from the room. Agree or disagree, support or oppose, every candidate and every citizen deserves respect for stepping into the spotlight and facing the white heat of opposition and scorn.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.