- 9 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
On Biden’s facial expressions, the use of non-verbal cues has long been a debating tactic, and while Biden does take it to the extreme, all debaters do it. It’s the debater’s way of speaking to the audience without talking; in the debate last night, Biden used his facial expressions to convey to the audience “this guy is speaking pure nonsense” and would become more animated if Ryan’s fibs were big ones, and more subtle if Ryan’s fibs were little ones. While this no doubt put some viewers off (as evidenced from the comments here and all over the Internet), it at a minimum drew the viewer’s attention to the fibs presented by the opponent. You just couldn’t NOT notice Biden non-verbally calling Ryan out at every opportunity. And while the extreme does put some people off, it’s a calculated risk: will we alienate more viewers and voters than we win over? On this, it looks at least from the major polls that Biden’s tactic worked, albeit by a narrow margin. What remains to be seen is the long-term effect. Are people remembering Ryan’s half-truths when they go to vote more than they remember Biden’s goofy faces? I think the next Presidential debate will hammer home that Ryan’s been caught lying many times and that Romney has too, and that no single debate will have as much influence on the undecided voters as the pattern across many debates of Ryan/Romney omitting facts and bending the truth and dodging questions.
As an aside– with the antectdotes about “redistribution” of kids’ allowances, grades and other things that are slanted heavily to the ultra-capitilistic, the important angle that is being left out of these antecdotes is the concept of social contract. As a member of any society, you enter an unspoken, unwritten contract that implies you will contribute to that society. By remaining an American, you agree to doing all those things that help make America great. You may not directly benefit from them— as an example, I pay a lot of property tax, and most of it goes to local public schools, but I don’t have kids nor do I intend to. So I do not see a direct benefit from my property taxes. But as a member of the greater community, I benefit when kids in my area are well-educated; they get better jobs because they can compete in the workforce, so they have better incomes, spend more in local businesses, my property values go up and my crime rates go down. In this example, the social contract is that I will pay into public schools, and in return I enjoy a more prosperous community. The ultra-conservative tendency to slash social programs and to not want to contribute on a level that is relative to one’s own prosperity and success undermines the social contract, to the detriment of us all. The antecdotes also assume that the person benefitting from the “redistribution” is seeking a handout because they are unwilling to better themselves, which does not accurately reflect American society. Many of those most in need enter society in a socioeconomic situation that, without external influence, will hinder their ability to succeed– again with public schools, many studies show that inner city African-American kids are testing at a full grade level behind their white counterparts from the suburbs, partially because the schools are not funded as heavily and therefore do not have the resources the kids need, and partially because the social and economic challenges that come with being a product of these schools make it difficult at best (and impossible for some) for the child’s home environment to be conducive to successful education. Education being only one small part of the social contract.