With college students constantly being reminded they are “leaders of the future” and put under the pressure of undertaking great political responsibilities, it is imperative that college boards and higher education leaders instill the right examples and messages for students to follow.
That is why the collegiate debate topic for this year is corruption of education. The official Cross-Examination Debate Association topic for this debate season is that “the United States’ Federal Government should substantially increase its democracy assistance in one or more of the following: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.”
For those who don’t follow speech and debate, this essentially means that for the rest of the academic year, all college debate teams in America will be arguing that the American government should be promoting and enforcing democracy in the specific middle eastern countries listed. And that, my friends, is a true pity.
With America’s foreign democracy track record, the last thing that needs to be ingrained into the minds of college debaters is the idea that America should continue its incessant attempts at initiating democracy wherever it possibly can because it hasn’t been rather successful.
As Americans, we also tend to have convenient definitions of democracy. The meaning can shift to meet the needs of the time, so that we can innocently state that we are entering Iraq, Chile or Haiti to spread “democracy,” when really there are alternative motives.
Unfortunately, most Americans, especially the youth of the nation, are blind to this problem because the United States, as a culture and a country, has a severe case of historical amnesia.
Forgetting about those less glamorous battles fought, America instead focuses on the glory of our successes and the beauty of this flawless idea we call democracy. The United States makes footnotes in its history whenever something doesn’t quite go its way, allowing the younger generations to wear blinders, shielding them from any shaky decisions or questionable outcomes that America has met.
A prime example could be from 1973, when America funded a coup in Chile, debatably supporting the assassination of their president. This led to the overtaking of the country via destructive dictator, who exiled more than one million Chileans, not to mention beat and killed thousands.
Chile is still recovering. Needless to say, this devastating event was a hugely significant part of their history, yet a footnote, if even that, in America’s history.
In similar terms of democracy, America has set burdens on Nicaragua, Haiti and probably most popularly, Iraq. While the events in Iraq can be a touchy subject, the fact is that we can’t handle a lack of control. We entered Iraq claiming it to be a “war on terror,” but when that didn’t follow through, it became a “democracy promotion.” Yet, when the country finally voted a leader in, the U.S. Federal Government decided that they didn’t like him and quickly replaced him. That is not democracy.
While democracy may work well for the established system in America, it has been proven time and time again that the United States’s idea of democracy assistance is a steadfast route to international problems.
By having this topic be analyzed and researched by college students, it may help a handful of “the future’s leaders” to understand the past leaders’ mistakes. But by promoting democracy, the mass Democracy-as-a-positive-influence continuum is only being furthered. It’s a disgrace to education and a step in the wrong direction for college students nation-wide.
Andra Kovacs/News editor
Andra Kovacs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.