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Liveblog: Students face off in political debate

Senior Spencer Carlson, one of the Democratic representatives, speaks during the library’s first political debate. Photo by Addie McNamara.

The Palo Alto High School library held its first student political debate today at 2:30 p.m. in the English Resource Center.

Juniors Aaron Slipper and Thibault Serlet served as the representatives from the Libertarian club, seniors Yasna Haghdoost and Josh Arfin were the Republican representatives and seniors Ben Hawthorne and Spencer Carlson were the Democratic debaters.

Below is a transcript of the debate.

[liveblog] 2:40 pm –

Hawthorne lists President Barack Obama’s successes in economy, healthcare and foreign policy in his opening statement.

“Bin Laden is dead,” Hawthorne said.

[liveblog] 2:43 pm –

“Our nation is addicted, except our opiate is not heroin,” Serlet said. “Our opiate is reckless spending.”

[liveblog] 2:45 pm –

“His policies just simply don’t work,” Arfin said. “We are being attacked, and the countries we’ve helped aren’t coming to our defense.”

[liveblog] 2:50 pm –

“The government does not create wealth,” Slipper said. Slipper argues that the government hinders growth in the economy.

[liveblog] 2:51 pm –

“We don’t want another government spending package that will create artificial and temporary jobs,” Haghdoost said. “Taxes are inherently oppressive.”

[liveblog] 2:54 pm –

Carlson argues that the government should increase federal spending to improve the economy.

“In order to get out of this ditch, we need to spend,” Carlson said.

[liveblog] 2:56 pm –

When addressing the issue of workplace inequality, Slipper states that “it is a common myth that there is a workplace inequality between males and females.”

[liveblog] 3:04 pm –

“Mr. Slipper, I suggest you try to be a woman,” Carlson said. “It is a very hard thing to do. I know, being a man myself. But you need to believe women when they tell you there is workplace inequality because it is true.”

[liveblog] 3:06 pm –

“We do not reward law-breaking,” Haghdoost said, opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

[liveblog] 3:07 pm –

“Drugs are not something that only harms the person, but also the society around them,” Arfin said. “Legalizing drugs would have as much as a terrible effect as illegal immigration.”

[liveblog] 3:15 pm –

“Do we really need soldiers in all of these peaceful countries?” asks Serlet. Serlet argues that it is not the United States’ duty to be the “policemen of the world.”

[liveblog] 3:19 pm –

Haghdoost argues that America must promote “constant vigilance.”

“I have been to Iran, and I can tell you that it is not a peaceful country,” Haghdoost said. “We cannot cut national defense spending.”

[liveblog] 3:22 pm –

Serlet states that America must demonstrate a strong defense, not a strong offense.

[liveblog] 3:26 pm –

“While the Democrats may be the party of moderation, the Libertarians is the party of peace,” Serlet said. “We need to withdraw right now.”

[liveblog] 3:26 pm –

Arfin argues that Serlet’s call to withdraw troops shows a “basic lack of realism in the world.” He recognizes Obama’s foreign policy successes, but states that the United States cannot “lead from behind.”

[liveblog] 3:30 pm –

“A government that tries to make its citizens equal by telling employers to pay the same for males and females is not a compassionate government,” Slipper said. He points out that employers would see women as a cost if they are forced to pay them equally.

[liveblog] 3:33 pm –

“We are a generous nation,” Haghdoost said. “We are in the unique position to be able to pursue many of our dreams. The American Dream is not based on a culture of dependency.”

[liveblog] 3:35 pm –

Carlson states that Libertarians depicts a society based on ideals, but it is not realistic.

“We don’t have an ideological agenda,” Carlson said. “The Democratic Party cares deeply about the people.”

[liveblog] 3:38 pm –

As the debate ends, candidates shake hands.

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  • S

    Spencer CarlsonNov 3, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Sorry, the argument I made about workplace inequality was almost insurmountably poorly worded.
    I said, “but you need to believe women when they tell you there is workplace inequality because it is true.”

    What I meant is that we know workplace inequality exists; the facts prove it. Esha, a women’s equality expert, will cite data that tells us that the white woman makes 77 cents to the white man’s dollar. Furthermore, the Hispanic woman makes 48 cents to the white man’s dollar.
    What I intended to say is that as a white male, it is easy to offer that the government should not protect rights that you already have, because of standards set by society. It is another thing altogether to put yourself in the place of women, and to stand up for the rights of women, even though it means that you may be disadvantaged by it, as a man. If women are granted equality in the workplace, men may be overlooked for promotions more often, as more qualified women are chosen, a clear disadvantage to men wishing to further their professional standing. However, if the Libertarians truly believe in market forces, this should be encouraging to them, as it will mean that only the most qualified individuals will rise to the top.
    Women are not inherently worse than men. We must agree as a governed society that we expect businesses to acknowledge that fact.

  • T

    Thibault SerletNov 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    This is Serlet: “Our nation is addicted” not our nature is addicted.