2017-11-15 / Political Page

Powhatan Democratic Club Members Debate The Issues


Powhatan Democratic Club kicked off a new debate series as a forum to encourage civic engagement and involvement in politics. Powhatan Democratic Club kicked off a new debate series as a forum to encourage civic engagement and involvement in politics. Powhatan Democratic Club kicked off a new debate series on November 8 as a forum to encourage civic engagement and involvement in politics. The event featured two Lincoln Douglas-style debates focusing on issues facing the Democratic Party and American Democracy.

The debate topics included:

 Should the Democratic Party push for a single-payer healthcare system or continue to expand on the Affordable Care Act?

 Should the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protect hate speech?

Scheduled to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election, the event aimed to promote engagement and cooperation. Club members volunteered to serve as debaters and worked closely with one another on research, data, and discourse. Attendees also participated by asking questions following each debate.

“Civic engagement is so much more than voting. It’s reading, writing, calling, attending town halls, protesting – and arguing!” said the club’s Programming Committee Chair Tim Wilson, who helped organize the event. “Today, we have a lot of political arguments on social media, where they can fray relationships, and not enough in real life, where they can help revitalize our political culture and build community. This event was an invitation to spend the first anniversary of a night that was for many a distressing experience engaging in politics in a fun, constructive way. The future of the Democratic Party and American politics depends on the debates we hold and the connections we form at the grassroots level.”

Attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite position at the end of each debate. The results showed that more attendees believed the Democratic Party should push for single-payer healthcare and that the First Amendment should protect hate speech. Debates regarding other, similar Democratic issues will be planned in the future. Anyone interested in being a debater can email powhatan01@gmail.com.

The event was also attended by Council Member and Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides, who discussed leadership and civic engagement with the audience members.

Founded in 1901, the Powhatan and Pocahontas Regular Democratic Club represents the 36th Assembly District, Part A, in Astoria.

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