Something I hope makes its way into post-revolution Egypt is electoral debating. Not because public debates between candidates are always informative in a detail-oriented sense – occasionally they do force evasive candidates to carve out clearer stances around divisive issues – but rather because they can be wildly entertaining, plain and simple. Imagine for a moment a bout of dialectic sparring between Mohamed ElBaradei and Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. A colorful conservative versus a more reserved liberal, it wouldn’t be too unlike the awkward coupling of Michelle Bachmann versus Barack Obama, just brilliant television, in my opinion.
But my personal dream contests aside, debates also breathe a certain amount of life into the electoral season by taking campaigns beyond inanimate street signs to – sometimes in subtle, sometimes in profound ways – expose the personalities and idiosyncrasies of candidates in a rawer form, adding another layer to the political discussion. In other words, I clearly think they’re a net benefit for democratic elections. And more to point, and what prompted this thought, a friend of mine pointed out this amazing campaign sign currently hanging in Mansoura:
Above, one of Mansoura’s individual seat candidates for parliament essentially calls out all of his opponents and challenges them to an open debate. The sign reads “The general manager of the attorney general’s office requests a public debate at his own expense, should anyone wish [to debate] please call [telephone number]“
I have yet to hear of a scheduled debate, but should he find a challenger, I’m there.