The right dialogue?

Today, the Tribune ran a transcripted debate between Mike Mulroy of MU Collge Republicans and Kristen Jones, chair of the College Democrats on the broad question, “How do you feel about the health care reform bill?” On print–I don’t know what their tone was like in real life–both appear civil, and stake thoughtful positions. However, I wonder if it’s the debate we ought to be having, or at least the debate we ought to be prioritizing as we have. In pitting a Democrat against a Republican, it’s framing the debate as essentially a partisan issue–a narrative Jones and Mulroy quickly play into. Much of it centers around the axiological principles of the debate, or else interprets the modes of statecraft at play–Mulroy sees the measure as excessive government intervention, Jones sees benevolent state intervention. It mirrors Congressional rhetoric. Republicans speak of “big government” and “socialism” as inherent evils and enemies to “freedom” as they fail to define it, and Democrats of  vague but urgent moral imperatives. We ought to be asking, “Could this work?or “What foreseeable negative consequences is the Obama administration playing down?” or “What quality healthcare will this provide?” or “What has happened to other countries who have implemented similar systems? How is our case different?” To answer these questions with learning and honesty, the Tribune would probably have to appeal to students in economics, business, political science, and health administration. They might lose the interest of a few nominally engaged readers who look for recognizable political dichotomies; but I think the debate commenced by more entrenched speakers would be that much more substantive.

Also, a surprising omission from today’s editorial page: A rebuttal to Empowerment Co-Chair Desiree Valentine’s outlandish Tuesday suggestion LGBT students be treated like human beings. No one’s even commented on the online posting:

Walking on campus now I sometimes feel I’m working for a large corporation. The academic buildings are nice but show almost no signs of vigor, or more specifically, the right kind of student movement. By this I mean the kind which exemplifies that centennial achievement we’re trying so hard to remind ourselves of. Signs for student events and activities are confined to small corkboards in corners. The outdoors are pristine, with little sign that students actually exist if it’s not the 10 minutes between classes.

Where is that rigorous critical reflection of “tradition?” Where is that impulse to continuously and creatively challenge our static worldviews? Where is that desire for more progressive change? I want us to rediscover the spirit from 100 years ago.

What are the pressing issues that face our society and our church today? Homosexuality is certainly one of them. Currently, the church’s official stance on homosexuality is it’s something one can’t really change but is still morally wrong.

Consequently, that individual must “take up the cross” and live a life of celibacy and silence about the issue. A fundamental part of one’s being, his or her sexuality, is to be silenced both internally and externally. Just think about the pain and suffering this must cause many members of our church family. They are to be made invisible, shun this fundamental human attribute and live a life without sexual companionship.

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