Howie Silbiger

The Death of Debate


A few years ago, I decided to take my politics to Facebook. Before that, I had used Facebook only to promote my political radio show, but as politics around the world heated up, I decided that becoming an active and loud participant in the conversation, as I was on the radio, would be appropriate.

On the advice of one of my Facebook friends, I unlocked my profile and allowed anyone to peer into my digital world. I started sharing articles and calling out false information posted by others. I tried, when possible, to provide the accurate facts, links to articles or transcripts that debunk the myths spread by mainstream media. I held, and still hold a conservative viewpoint.

The result of this decision has been mixed. There were people I was working with, who were very close, who started distancing themselves from me. There were others, mostly high-profile media types, who publicly attacked me. Some called me alt-right, others referred to me as a hack and a loon, while others called me a prick. Some blocked me on Facebook, others continue to insult, it’s all good.

I am a political commentator. I take a stand on politics that deviates from the collective stance of my religious community as well as the collective ideas of my country. Does that make me alt-right, a cute way of saying Nazi, no. It makes me a person who has a different political view and at one time that was acceptable, it generated conversation and debate. Nobody hated each other because they disagreed politically, people were able to get along, argue or not argue politics and still have a coffee.

That has all changed. We live in a world where nobody reads anymore, people listen to edited sound clips and read memes and believe it all. Nobody questions, nobody researches, and the hate just builds up. Whatever the mainstream media decides is acceptable becomes acceptable.

Antifa can beat up a gay Vietnamese journalist and the media calls him a Nazi, so he is one, although all evidence of his past postings prove he is not. The media tried to crown a President. The American people voted against the media’s choice and the coverage of the current President painted him an incompetent stupid buffoon. He never had a chance to prove himself nor the opportunity to serve his country. It would take pages and pages to dissect each and every fake scandal that the media danced before the public to discredit President Trump, from him trying to personally benefit from the President being a Nazi to him colluding with the Russians, each one debunked, yet still very much alive in the minds of people brainwashed by the media.

Five reports: Mueller, FBI, CIA, Senate, Congressional can be released announcing no evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia and the media and the public still insist he did. Media pounces on any loon’s allegations, plausible/credible or not, of sexual impropriety made against The President or any of his nominees or staff members. Long drawn out interviews in prime time and then when the allegation is debunked and found to be false, silence (See Brett Kavanaugh).

People accuse me of being a Trump supporter, as if supporting the President of the United States is a crime or immoral. The disgust in their voice, their attempt to shame me by publicly declaring me a supporter of The President was at first baffling to me, of course I support The President, I have always supported Democracy and the elected official of whatever country. Have I opposed or spoken out against policies, yes, but that’s what democracy is about.

I can hate everything about a President, oppose everything the politician does and know that in four years, he can be voted out. The thing is, when I criticize a President, I criticize policies and political actions. I don’t care about his personal life, I couldn’t care less about his martial status, his flings with prostitutes or how he spends his off time. I care about what he is doing for the country and how that helps everyone. What he does outside of The Presidency is none of my business, unless, of course, he is committing some kind of crime which he should be prosecuted for.

The one thing that gets me, every time, however, is when people get personally insulting. I never took politics personal, I always argued my point, sometimes heatedly, and then was able to go to lunch with the person, friendships were never ruined by disagreeing with someone.

In high school I was a champion debater, I’ve coached debate teams and the first thing I teach is that when the argument gets personal, you have won the debate. People tend to get personally insulting when they have nothing constructive left to contribute to the conversation. In today’s political environment, when someone is called out for posting a false statement or a misleading or untrue quote, instead of reading the actual quote in context and then either arguing or backing down, they get their dander up and tend to get insulting.

What a shame. I’ve learned so much from reading back and forth arguments (just think of the Jewish Talmud) and the loss of that kind of exchange is not only damaging to political, actually, all debate, but is damaging to mankind.

By losing the ability to talk to each other, argue, disagree, but remain civil, even friends, one can only conclude that eventually we will go to physical war over words, a sad ending for a once smart people.

About the Author
Howie Silbiger is the host of The Howie Silbiger Show on and Political Hitman on - He is not afraid to tackle the controversial issues, not afraid to stand up against injustice, not afraid to tell it like it is.
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