Meaningful Debate Is Dead, But It Shouldn’t Be

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    I have found it difficult to write over the past week or so.

    For days, my social media feeds have been riddled with “hot takes” about NFL players and the debate over racial inequality in the United States. On one side, folks accused anyone mounting a protest of being un-American and unpatriotic. On the other, there were accusations of bigotry and double standards. Lost in all of this was any attempt to have an actual debate on policy. It was all yelling past each other.

    After the tragic events in Las Vegas, the predictable happened again. On one side, the calls for gun control and demonizing of gun owners grew louder than ever. On the other, many attempted to paint the shooter as some sort of left-wing activist, without any documented information. Welcome to the same old song and dance.

    The truth on both of these issues is somewhere in the middle. As pointed out by FiveThirtyEight, gun violence isn’t uniform. We have a white suicide problem. We have an intercity homicide problem. We have issues with domestic violence, gun safety, and mental health. Each of these issues should require unique debates and solutions, but that would be too complex to rile up the political masses, so we default to the “are guns good or bad” debate. It’s juvenile, ineffective, and pathetic.

    The same applies to the NFL protests. Just because the protests were perceived as unorganized grandstanding (and they were), that doesn’t mean we don’t have real issues here. Our prosecution standards are broken throughout the country, minimum sentencing laws are failing minority communities, and systemic racism does exist in some, but not all, communities.

    I don’t have solutions to any of these issues, although I have thoughts and theories. I would rather be spending time discussing those prospective policy solutions than listening to 30-second hot takes. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I do know one thing — I am tired of the current climate of division.