Last week I was back in Michigan and able to watch the Presidential Debate with my parents. At one point, as one of the candidates was clearly speaking beyond his or her allotted time, my mom asked something like, “Couldn't they shut off their microphones at some point?” I’d had the very same thought. Then during the Vice Presidential Debate earlier this week, the moderator, Elaine Quijano, reminded Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, "Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other.” Thank you, Elaine.
Debate frustration continued as I listened to the On Point radio program yesterday. During a segment called Pot on the Ballot in 2016, two of the guests (from Colorado) started intensely arguing and speaking over each other (at ~37:00 min). That kind of exchange is pretty unusual for this usually intellectual, thoughtful, and respectful program. I wanted to hear what both guests were saying, but either the host, Tom Ashbrook, stopped their argument or time ran out. I forget how it ended. But I found myself wanting more info, lamenting the wasted time, and wondering about the truth. One of the guests had asserted a passionate position and then the other guest interrupted him to point out a clear bias in his position which the other guy vehemently denied. You know the routine. The words get louder and faster, but can’t be understood. I was left wondering about the truth and wondering how we could get better, higher quality info from people during conversations and debates like these. That’s when I came up with one of my “great ideas”.
What if, during political debates, each candidate was allotted a set number of minutes they could speak during the entire event? Maybe they’d each get to speak for something like 40 minutes out of the 90 minute debate. If they interrupt, those minutes would be deducted from their remaining time and added to their opponent’s remaining time. Once all of their time was used, their microphone would be shut off. If they had time left over at the end, they could use it for closing remarks. I think this would result in a lot less interrupting and it would enable us, at the very least, to evaluate their time management and maybe even communication skills.
Using these updated rules, the candidates would need to pace themselves more and interrupt less. I’d like to think that during the recent VP debate Tim Kaine would have interrupted less and Mike Pence would have spent less time trying to run down the clock with meaningless commentary. The technology needed to implement this plan either exists right now or would be very easy to implement.
We should use more Technology to eliminate at least some of our Political Frustrations. What do you think? Do you like the idea? Do you have more ideas? Let me know. Maybe we can start a movement.
Has technology ever frustrated you? If so, tell us about it on the Tech Frustrations web site.
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