The great thing about our country is we all can have different backgrounds, experiences and opinions, and still come together and work towards the common good. No matter the level of government – from your local school board to the Congress – people have to compromise – give up some things you want in order to support somethings someone else wants – in order to accomplish their goals. When you earn the Cadette Finding Common Ground badge, you will learn how governments do that – and how you can do it in your everyday life.
Step Three: Explore Civil Debate
A debate is a discussion between two people who have different opinions on any given topic. It is important to know how to draw on facts and logic to support your point of view. It is essential to stay calm. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade,” and the point of a debate is to persuade others to your point of view. A great way to persuade others is to keep an open mind their point of view and to find common ground!
Choose one or more of the following activities
Watch candidates for elected office debate. It could be for any office – from your local school board to the U.S. Presidency. After the debate, discuss with your Cadette troop or your family the arguments on all sides, and whether the candidates found any common ground – or whether they were even looking. Where the candidates persuasive? Why or why not?
Understand a famous debate in history. It might be a debate over the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, or between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in the 1860s. Find out why the debate was important to American history and who is considered the winner and why? Did the debaters find any common ground? Did they look?
In the next step, you will learn to understand how to compromise.
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