March 21, 2013

Welcome to today’s debate. First, I would ask the audience to read this article about a father-daughter dance at Richmond City Jail. Let’s begin.

Moderator: Toss-up question — what did you think of the article?

Liberal: It made me cry.

Conservative: It made me wince.

Moderator: Why?

Liberal: One out of nine African American men will be incarcerated between the ages of 20 and 34. That results in hundreds of thousands of little girls (and boys) growing up without a father.

Conservative: True, but the answer isn’t the self-help therapy route offered by the jail psychologist.

Moderator: Is there an answer?

Liberal: One part of the solution is to address punitive penalties for nonviolent offenders. It’s crazy to lock people up for months and months for drug use or failing to pay child support.

Conservative: The ultimate answer is to create a culture of self-reliance in communities that have become infantilized by government dependence. We need to give up on the 50-year failure of the Great Society.

Liberal: We never really funded the Great Society, so we will never know if it would have worked. If we spent the same money in our cities that we spent nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we might have a valid data set.

Moderator: If you could pick one role model for these fathers and daughters, whom would it be?

Conservative: Dr. Ben Carson.

Liberal: Michelle Obama.

Moderator: Thank you.