Debating with Dignity

By Gabriel Salguero 12-12-2007

It happened again. A presidential candidate's debate in two languages. Just as the Democratic presidential candidates had done before, the Republicans have followed suit - a presidential candidates debate on Spanish-language channel, Univision. (Tom Tancredo was the only candidate who did not attend the debate). I blogged on the earlier Democratic debate and thought it only equitable to do the same again.

I think what is critical here in both nationally-televised debates is a healthy model of dialogue that is necessary on the national scene. This dialogue says we respect your culture and language. Allowing for your thoughts and words to be translated into another language can be a metaphor for inclusion and welcoming. I am not arguing that English should not be spoken (All the candidates answered in English and most immigrants work hard to learn English, cf: Pew research, etc.) What I am saying is that as a country we are looking for is conversations and policies that respect the dignity of the other.

As a person of faith, pastor, and follower of Jesus Christ, I am desirous of respectful debate and dialogue. On blogs, radio-shows, and political advertisements ideological and theological differences have often reduced some to more base temptations of demonizing the other (be they Republican, Democrat, immigrant, citizen, male or female). Frankly, this is not consistent with the gospel and a call to love our neighbor and even our enemies. Jesus even said, "Love your enemies." As a people we need to move beyond the childish temptation to dehumanize those we disagree with.

Dignity means you both speak and listen. Dignity may help us see someone who is radically different from us and call them by their name. Dignity transcends political ideologies and racial, ethnic, and geographic boundaries. Dignity is a faithful witness to a faith that says, "Por que de tal manera amó Dios al mundo (For God so loved the world

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