There is no better example of the unethical, irrational, and questionable discussion than watching the circus of politicians’ debate during this election year in the United States. In the most recent farce by the GOP candidates in New Hampshire was quite a spectacle. One must ask where the rational, believable, and trustworthy politicians have gone, if there ever were any to begin with. However, the role that political leaders take on should involve respectable rational dialogue that can be trusted by the people who elect the officials rather than putting on a spectacle that is nearly as entertaining as reality shows with petty drama. The New Hampshire Republican debate was a precise example of an event filled with communication directed at the American public with non-rational attempts to influence voters towards the various delegates.
Needless to say, nearly every candidate running for president has made false promises and aimed to tug at the heart strings of the American people to gain voters. Many of the campaign ads are so ludicrous that the viewer must question whether or not he or she is watching a Saturday Night Live spoof. During the commercial and print ads, the constituents expect the manipulation of the audience to win people over onto a particular candidates “team.” However, when it comes time for the debates it is quite insulting that these ethically questionable behaviors ensue at a time when candidates are supposed to truthfully express who they are, what they stand for, and what policies they have in mind if given the opportunity to become president. Sadly, the deliberate and forceful attempt of the Republican candidates speeches during the New Hampshire debates were evidence of the appeal to the emotions of the American people, along with hopes of uncritical acceptance of untruthful things stated by so many of these Republican candidates that carried on a ruckus during a public event that should be taken seriously.
After becoming aware of the concepts of ethical communication that those in the public domain should be mindful of, one cannot help but to feel a sense of outrage when dissecting the GOP debate through the lens of ethical communication. The lies and debauchery of the Republican candidates are perfect examples of Aristotle’s disagreement with the end justifying the means (Johannesen, Valde, & Whedbee, 2008). How can a group of individuals who aim to become the leader of a great nation like the United States use such irrational communication tactics to gain the favor of the American people? Are they not concerned that the false accusations and promises will one day have to be dealt with? Evidently this reality is not enough to stop these people from their unethical manipulation of the American people that they freely exercise at times like the New Hampshire GOP debate.
For starters at the very beginning of the debate, as the transcript shows, a statement made by Senator Ted Cruz about Donald Trump is brought up, which clearly will rile up the opponents. According to The Washington Post (2016), Senator Cruz was quoted as saying "I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way, having his finger on the button. We're liable to wake up one morning, and if he were president, he would nuke Denmark." This statement, which really is quite controversial and emotionally driven, was the very first part of the discussion that began the night. Needless to say, everyone knew that Trump would have a bold and equally salacious response, which is clearly why it was even brought up in the first place. It should be an insult to the intellect of the American people to sit back and watch the useless content of dialogue that is going on at a time that very serious and honest discussion should be had by respectable men who intend to lead a country in the very near future.
What can be seen among candidates speaking on stage that night was a violation of Habermas’ four assumptions that underlie all normal human communication (Johannesen, Valde, & Whedbee, 2008). When watching the majority of the men speaking in the New Hampshire GOP debate there was hardly any sense of solid believable rational discussion about actions that would be taken to improve them many challenges facing American and its citizens. So many of the declarations made that evening were like empty promises that the audience was expected to take without any objection. Unfortunately, the large majority of citizens has sat back and allowed these lies to be told in the guise of political policy and propaganda. Perhaps the common saying ignorance is bliss applies in a situation when one is made aware of the principles that should guide one’s communication that are instead ignored by men who will one day potentially become the President of the United States. In conclusion, there is no more shameful scenario than the political campaigns of these corporate puppets that the American people are forced to accept as leaders of the nation.
Johannesen, R. L., Valde, K. S., & Whedbee, K. E. (2008). Ethics in Human Communication.
Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
The Washington Post . (2016). Transcript of the New Hampshire GOP Debate,
Annotated. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-