Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Round 3: AllSeeingI vs americandingbat - "United States Territories"

page: 1
14

log in

join

posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:53 PM
link   
The topic for this debate is "The United States territories should be allowed to vote in the presidential general election.”

"AllSeeingI" will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
"americandingbat" will be arguing the "Con" position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

There is a 10,000 character limit per post.

Any character count in excess of 10,000 will be deleted prior to the judging process.

Editing is strictly forbidden. For reasons of time, mod edits should not be expected except in critical situations.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images and must have no more than 3 references. Video and audio files are NOT allowed.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post. Each individual post may contain up to 10 sentences of external source material, totaled from all external sources. Be cognizant of what you quote as excess sentences will be removed prior to judging.

Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference but there is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed before judging.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

This Is The Time Limit Policy:

Each debate must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

Each debater is entitled to one extension of 24 hours. The request should be posted in this thread and is automatically granted- the 24 hour extension begins at the expiration of the previous deadline, not at the time of the extension request.

In the unlikely event that tardiness results in simultaneous posting by both debaters, the late post will be deleted unless it appears in its proper order in the thread.

If a participant misses 2 posts in a debate, it will be then declared a forfeiture. In the event where the debate continues, once a debate forum staff member is able to respond, the debate will be closed and awarded to the winning participant.

Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.

In the Tournament, winners will be awarded 2 points for each debate they win.

All AboveTopSecret.com Terms and Conditions Apply at all times in all debate formats.




posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 07:52 PM
link   
I would like to begin by establishing a consensus of the topic and associated definitions of terms which will be commonly used in the following discussion.

I will be debating FOR allowing citizens of US Territories to have the right to vote in the US Presidential elections.

The US Territories which we should focus on are, of course, only the US Territories which have a regular civilian population and not Territories which are inhabited or frequented by US Military or Contractors.

The Territories up for debate are as follows:
Puerto Rico
2007 POP EST: 3,994,259
Guam:
2009 POP EST: 178,000
United States Virgin Islands:
2007 POP EST: 108,448
Northern Mariana Islands:
2007 POP EST: 86,616
American Samoa:
2009 POP EST: 65,628

Added to together it equals 4,432,591 people.

These people are subject to the taxation of the USA. Example…

Puerto Rico is classified by the U.S. government as an independent taxation authority by mutual agreement with the U.S. Congress by the federal law 48 U.S.C. § 734. Contrary to common misconception, residents of Puerto Rico do pay U.S. federal taxes: import/export taxes, federal commodity taxes, social security taxes, etc. The only exemption is federal income taxes since residents pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare), as well as Commonwealth of Puerto Rico income taxes. All federal employees, plus those who do business with the federal government, in addition to Puerto Rico-based corporations that intend to send funds to the U.S., and some others also pay federal income taxes.

en.wikipedia.org...

Another contradiction which is relevant is that a Citizen can become President of the USA and yet their own citizens and their self would not be able to vote in that very election !

In addition, an April 2000 CRS report by the Congressional Research Service, asserts that citizens born in Puerto Rico, are legally defined as natural born citizens and are, therefore, also eligible to be elected President, provided they meet qualifications of age and 14 years residence within the United States. According to the CRS report residence in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions does not qualify as residence within the United States for these purposes.


They are also subject to Selective Service laws.

For each of these US Territories the head of state/president, which is the President of the USA.
…and yet the rights of these citizens are restricted to deny them the right to vote in the elections which choose the leader of the USA and therefore their own head of state/president.

Why? I cannot think of a good reason why.


SOCRATIC QUESTIONS:
#1 : What benefits does the USA or anyone receive in denying these specific Presidential voting rights of the citizens of these US territories?



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 07:58 PM
link   
The topic for this debate is "The United States territories should be allowed to vote in the presidential general election.” I will argue the con side – that it is appropriate that unincorporated territories of the United States are not represented in the Electoral College and thus do not vote in Presidential Elections.

I would like to thank my opponent AllSeeingI for providing some brief information on the Insular Areas for which this question is most relevant: Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. In this opening I will go into a bit more detail on the history and current status of each of these areas as seems relevant to the issue of participating in the electoral college process.

First though, I would like to point out that the debate is not about whether or not the citizens of these areas should be allowed to vote in U.S. Presidential elections: it is about whether the citizens of U.S. Territories (by which I assume the debate topic author meant specifically the Insular Areas listed) should participate in this process while their current status as unincorporated territories is preserved. This is an especially relevant point for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where there is a strong movement both locally and within the federal government to reassess its relation to the United States and grant it full incorporation as a State.

The political history of the five inhabited unincorporated Insular Areas is complex – I only have space for the briefest of overviews. I hope however that even this brief overview will make clear the complexities of their legal status.

These areas were all conceded to the United States under varying conditions. Two (Puerto Rico and Guam) were acquired from Spain by treaty following the Spanish-American War. Guam was captured and occupied by Japan for 31 months during World War Two before being recaptured by the U.S. in 1944. The Northern Mariana Islands were captured from Japan (which had been granted them by the League of Nations in 1919) during World War Two. The US Virgin Islands were purchased from Denmark during World War One. American Samoa became a U.S. territory in 1900 when the island of Samoa was divided between the Americans and the Germans.

American Samoa is unique among these areas in that it is an “unorganized territory” – although it has self-governance under a 1967 constitution it has not been the subject of an Organic Act in the U.S. Congress delineating its governance. It administers its own immigration policies, requiring for example that travelers from the United States have proof either of employment within American Samoa or proof of continuing travel back to the States or elsewhere.

Although the Insular Areas to not pay federal income tax to the U.S. Treasury, they do receive aid from the federal government. The status of the various territories with regards to customs taxes and tariffs varies. They are subject to federal payroll taxes in the form of Medicare and social security tax; they also pay income tax at federal rates, but Congress mandates that these monies be returned to the territorial government.

Legally, it has been determined that only fundamental Constitutional rights apply by necessity to citizens of these areas (for instance, the First Amendment right to free speech); procedural rights (for instance the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury) have been explicitly extended to residents by Congress.

United States Citizenship was extended to Puerto Rico in 1917, to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1927, to Guam in 1950 and to the Northern Mariana Islands in 1986. Residents of American Samoa are not U.S. Citizens unless one of their parents is a U.S. Citizen. They are however U.S. Nationals entitled to free and unrestricted travel to and entry into the United States.

Clearly, the status of these areas is problematic. As my opponent pointed out, there are some seemingly absurd legal repercussions; for instance, that a Puerto Rican citizen would be eligible to run for President but not to vote in the presidential election. In this debate, however, we are not tasked with remedying all these problems. We are asked to look specifically at the issue of allowing U.S. citizens and nationals resident in the unincorporated Insular Areas to vote in presidential elections.

But the President of the United States of America is not in fact elected by the citizens of the United States. Rather, the individual states of the Union send representatives to the Electoral College, which in turn decides the election. The structure is deliberately set up this way – it is an important element of the structure of the U.S. as a Union of States. While at first glance it might appear to be a denial of individual rights of U.S. citizens that citizens resident in one of the unincorporated areas do not participate in this process, it is rather a natural difference in the rights and requirements inherent in statehood versus dependency.

I have no Socratic Questions for my opponent at this time, let me however finish by addressing the question posed to me:

SOCRATIC QUESTIONS:
#1 : What benefits does the USA or anyone receive in denying these specific Presidential voting rights of the citizens of these US territories?

I object to how this question is phrased. We must over the course of this debate determine whether citizens of the unincorporated territories have the right to vote in Presidential elections. I cannot answer a question which presumes a right which I am arguing does not exist.

Perhaps the question behind your question is, “who benefits from the fact that citizens of the unincorporated territories do not have the right to vote in the U.S. Presidential elections?” I can think of many answers to this. For one thing, we could look at the question of party politics. Since Puerto Rico is by far the most populous of these areas, I will focus on the numbers there. Suppose Puerto Rico were to become a state: it would have the right to elect 2 senators and as many as 7 representatives (Source), which would presumably be reflected in the presidential elections as 9 electoral college representatives. It is hard however to know whether this would benefit the Democrats or the Republicans more, since the three main Puerto Rican political parties are differentiated by their stance on statehood, independence, or commonwealth status and are all composed of both Republican and Democratic members. Nevertheless, I am sure that both major parties have analysts working hard to determine whether Puerto Rican participation in the electoral college process would benefit them or not.



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:59 PM
link   
I applaud my opponent on the ample history report of his last post. However, as far as I can tell he made only one direct attempt to show a reason which would not allow these people to vote in the general presidential election. His reason: it would slightly change the make-up of the Electoral College and/or disrupt the status-quo or benefit one or the other political parties.


I submit that this is an unjust reason to deny a person the ability to vote for who will be the head-of-state/president and therefore the highest leader of their realm.


As my esteemed opponent stated “We are asked to look specifically at the issue of allowing U.S. citizens and nationals resident in the unincorporated Insular Areas to vote in presidential elections.”

The Electoral College is constantly in a state of shift and how would the small number of new electors by adding these Territories make such a dramatic shift that it would be any different than the current ebb-and-flow of population and current slight changes of the Electoral College over time.

But we are not here to debate the system of the Electoral College. Nor are should we make the false assumption that the electoral college is, as you stated: “an important element of the structure of the U.S. as a Union of States.” This fact is highly debatable and opinion on that issue would vary greatly amongst the US citizenry.

I agree we must focus on the issue of whether these people should be allowed to vote for their own head-of-state/president. I would then like to suggest that we are not here to debate the validity or methodology of the current USA electoral process.

We must focus solely on whether it is moral and ethical to impose a head of state/president on these people without allowing them to participate in the election process and to have an equal say in who will be the highest leader of their own domain.



Regarding: my opponent’s Statehood vs dependency argument…
These are titles which are essentially meaningless. I challenge my opponent to show how any of the current 50 states are not dependent on the federal government or other states in some fashion. All states and territories represent a whole of the security structure of the USA; whether it is financial support for the security of our nation through commodities and trade, or strategic military significance to protect the borders and/or movement of military units worldwide by having airbases, installations, and refueling points in such as the far flung area of the USA such as Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Solomon’s etc.


My opponent has suggested that entering these US Territories into the election would disrupt the status quo and could have negative repercussions for one or the other of the major political parties.
I assert that this is an immoral and unethical reason to ‘Gerrymander’ the US Territories out of the political process to benefit the status-quo or either political party.

To deny them the ability to voice opinion in the form of a vote for their choice of leader which will be their own head of state/president is unethical and immoral regardless of current statehood status or current law. It is true that currently the law is such that these people are not allowed to vote for US President. I suggest that those current laws are unethical and immoral.

I believe my opponent also made indirect suggestions that these US Territories should be withheld from the election process because they were acquired via military action, post-war treaties, or via land purchase agreements.

Each one of these methods of acquisition reflects a similar method of land acquisition which currently exists in the history of regions of the USA which ARE allowed to vote in this process. For example Hawaii, Alaska… every state under the Louisiana Purchase, lands acquired via the Mexican-American War , and reaching back far enough to the original colonies….

Should we, therefore, deny other regions acquired by similar means the ability to vote in the election? Part of Texas from the Mexican-American War?



Yes, one way or another, the current situation of each current US territory reflects a current US State’s own history of acquisition/annexation.

I suggest that it is immoral and unethical to deny a person the right to vote for their own head-of-state/president because a head-of-state/president should never be imposed; if one is imposed it would be immoral and unethical regardless of current status of statehood or whatever title or method is used to describe or segregate the current status of the US States or Territories from one another.

Given that some people under the USA are allowed to vote for US President I suggest it is immoral and unethical to deny or segregate another group based on regional prejudice which says that these people over here can do thus, while these over here cannot.

Other such segregation methods such as racial bias and sexual discrimination have been destroyed because eventually the ignorance which employed those methods were exposed.


Socratic question:
#1: Why then should these lands under the USA be different in the ability to vote for US President than any of the other regions of the USA which were acquired via similar circumstances: (eg. Land-purchase, via war, or post-war treaty agreements)?



posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 07:30 PM
link   
Part One: rebuttal

Let the straw men fly!

I will begin this post by addressing a couple of apparent misunderstandings.

AllSeeingI has apparently read my discussion of whether the Democrats or Republicans would benefit from giving the unincorporated territories representation in the Electoral College as in some way indicative of my support for keeping them out on that basis. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was attempting to answer as directly as I possibly could his Socratic Question about who might benefit from excluding them from this process: the first thing that crossed my mind was that one or both of the main political parties might. I personally think it would be wonderful to break the stranglehold the two-party system has on American politics. But giving equal representation to unincorporated territories in the Electoral College is not a valid way to do that, even if we had proof that it could.

Similarly, he seems to have read my discussion of the historical context as an implication that I for some reason think that how a territory was annexed should impact its right to representation in the Electoral College. I do not. I think that (as is the current situation) all states regardless of how they first became associated with the United States should have such representation. The areas we are discussing in this debate are not states and therefore are not represented in the Electoral College, nor should they be until such time as they become states.

I realize that my opening post was heavy on information that may not have seemed directly relevant to the question of voting rights. I felt compelled to provide this information in order to give a sense of context to the debate. I for one knew very little about the Insular Areas, their history, their legal statuses, and the issues involved before I began research for this debate. I do not presume that our readers and judges will have been aware of the complexity, and I believe it is incumbent upon us to give as much information as we can in this limited space. Also, I wished to provide some additional information, since my opponent had specifically used the Puerto Rican case, to demonstrate why it will be insufficient in this debate just to look at one case and assume that it is representative of all.

It is with some relief that I see my opponent agrees with me on one thing:

“[W]e are not here to debate the system of the Electoral College. … we are not here to debate the validity or methodology of the current USA electoral process.”

Given that fact, we must not ignore that methodology. The President of the United States is not voted into office directly by the people of the United States: he is instead elected by the representatives of the states of the Union. I will assume, as my esteemed opponent seems to assume, that the topic of this debate then is properly one of whether or not the unincorporated Insular Areas should hold elections for members to represent them in the Electoral College.

I must disagree with my opponent when he say, “[W]e must focus on the issue of whether these people should be allowed to vote for their own head-of-state/president.”
My opponent would like the focus of this debate to be primarily on the question of whether individuals have the right to vote for President; my aim in sharpening our focus is to point out that that’s a moot point.

We do not vote for President as citizens of the United States. We vote as citizens of our states for representatives who in turn vote for President.

Finally, my opponent seems to have gotten the idea that I object to the procedural hassle of adding electors to the Electoral College. Again, this is not the issue. While I’m not sure how exactly we could apportion a representation for American Samoa (which has only 65,628 residents), I’m sure that an arrangement could be made if it became necessary – if American Samoa became an incorporated State of the Union.

It is not any perceived structural hassles or changes to the Electoral College that I am trying to highlight. If the Insular Areas were all to vote to become states, go through the process of negotiating statehood within their own legislature and within the federal government, and be granted full statehood, then their citizens (like the citizens of any other state) would have the right to elect representatives to the Electoral College.

My opponent has made one truly bizarre assertion in his first reply, in regard to the terms state and dependency: “These are titles which are essentially meaningless.” If he prefers, I will happily stick with the proper title for Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, which is in fact “Insular Area” or “unincorporated territory”.

To call this distinction meaningless in the context of a debate about one of the legal differences between statehood and status as unincorporated insular area is either disingenuous in the extreme or just uninformed.


Finally, to answer my opponent’s question to me:

Socratic question:
#1: Why then should these lands under the USA be different in the ability to vote for US President than any of the other regions of the USA which were acquired via similar circumstances: (eg. Land-purchase, via war, or post-war treaty agreements)?

These areas are and should be different from the incorporated States because they have not gone through the process of gaining statehood – indeed, in a couple of instances there is no evidence that they have any interest in doing so, and in a couple any interest in doing so seems to be overwhelmed by the desire to maintain the status quo.

 


Part Two: Incorporated States and Unincorporated Areas


Article II [of the United States Constitution]

Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Source



Article IV [of the United States Constitution]

Section 3. New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

Source


One of the major differences between an incorporated area of the United States (including the fifty states) and an unicorporated area is in how the Constitution applies to it. The Equal Footing Doctrine, while not included in the Constitution itself, has been a part of the Organic Acts for all states added to the Union. Among other things, this prevents the individual states from discriminating against citizens of other states, ensures freedom of travel between the states, and guarantees that new states have the same rights over their territory as other states.

The balance between federal unity and state sovereignty is one of the ongoing themes in American history. Striking an appropriate balance is often difficult, but one of the important mechanisms in this is the electoral process. Originally, the system of electoral representatives was set up in the Constitution as a compromise between those who feared that direct election of the President would lead to a tyranny of the majority and unfair advantage to the most populous areas to the detriment of rural areas and those who feared that having the legislature elect the head of state would open the process to unacceptable corruption and special-interest manipulation.

The equal footing doctrine is often viewed as guaranteeing equal protection under the Constitution, and indeed this is part of it. But it also guarantees equal treatment – that the individual states do not have special status with respect to the federal government.

Clearly, this is of vital importance for our nation. The balance of federal vs state power would be at risk if we allowed territories both all the rights and privileges afforded to the individual states but not the limitations on their sovereignty that the states are subjected to.

I brought up one such example in my opening: American Samoa places strict restrictions on immigration or travel from the incorporated United States. Other unincorporated territories (or at least those in power therein) benefit from lax labor laws which would be impossible in a State in which the full Constitution applied.

In a post-colonial world, the status of the inhabited unincorporated territories does indeed appear anachronistic and undemocratic.

However, we cannot risk our Union by extending rights to try to compensate for colonialism without demanding equal status for these areas. They should be allowed to choose for themselves whether full incorporation with the United States is what they want – to put themselves on the path to statehood and full enfranchisement – or whether they prefer a move towards independence.



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 04:22 PM
link   
BUSY TODAY....

I am taking my extension.
New Deadline 730pm 1/23



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 05:31 PM
link   
My argument is that any people, regardless of land or government status have the right to vote for their own leader. The current bureaucratic system uses and immoral and unethical set of rules and laws to deny this. I argue that ideally the ability to vote for head of state exists by a higher moral and ethical authority. It might not be legal, but it is right.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RESPONSES


To call this distinction meaningless in the context of a debate about one of the legal differences between statehood and status as unincorporated insular area is either disingenuous in the extreme or just uninformed.


This debate is not about the legal differences between statehood statuses. My opponent would like to change the wording of our moderator’s chosen debate to aide his own victory. This debate It is about whether these people should be allowed to vote, not about statehood.



Clearly, this is of vital importance for our nation. The balance of federal vs. state power would be at risk if we allowed territories both all the rights and privileges afforded to the individual states but not the limitations on their sovereignty that the states are subjected to.


Vital importance? No. This is a false assumption here. What really is of vital importance is personal rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms should never be jeopardized by the state. If the state begins with denying voting rights, where does it end?



In a post-colonial world, the status of the inhabited unincorporated territories does indeed appear anachronistic and undemocratic.


EXACTLY! It is undemocratic. This is the emphasis of my argument. It is unjust to deny these people the right to vote in the election regardless of statehood status. The law currently does not grant them the right to vote; and I content that these laws are unethical and immoral. Statehood and land titles are meaningless and irrelevant to the higher morality and ethics which governs that these people have the right to choose who leads them.



However, we cannot risk our Union by extending rights to try to compensate for colonialism without demanding equal status for these areas. They should be allowed to choose for themselves whether full incorporation with the United States is what they want – to put themselves on the path to statehood and full enfranchisement – or whether they prefer a move towards independence.


Another false assumption here. My opponent suggests that the Union of the USA would be jeopardized because we allow 5 more million the right to vote within the 320 some million already in the populous of the USA.

He follows within the same paragraph with a false choice: ‘Become a State OR you can’t vote for president’. This is a false choice. The people who are under the umbrella of a President/Head of State, like those of the insular area, should only be ‘ruled’ by this head of state if they voted in the election.

It is immoral and unethical to impose a head of state without being allowed to vote. No poll-tax, segregation, or other method including statehood status should be used to deny the freedom to vote for your head of state.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My opponent’s current argument is essentially: because it is law… they should not be allowed to vote.

Well what other ‘laws’ in the past have been changed or removed because they were found to by immoral or unethical: Segregation, prohibition, etc etc….This is the same argument. We are talking about personal freedoms.

If the current laws of the US deny the people of the insular areas voting rights, then those laws are unethical and immoral… and therefore… should be repealed or adjusted. We must not fall victim or the false choice of ‘become a state, or don’t vote’.


In closing this post I would just like to make my position clear…

I argue that any person, anywhere (including these areas under debate) has the freedom to vote for whoever will be their head-or-state regardless of any laws or methods which would prohibit them to do so.

It is morally and ethically correct that these people have the right to make their voice heard. Any laws which prohibit them to do so are unethical and immoral and ethics and morals transcend human law and nation status. These are human rights and apply to every human. True, the world we live in does not always grant the moral and ethical correctness, but it should, and that is what I am debating for: not the legality of them to vote, but the overshadowing ideal right to do so.



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 04:08 PM
link   
I will take my 24-hour extension today.



posted on Jan, 25 2010 @ 05:03 PM
link   
We may be at a bit of an impasse, and I suppose the judges and readers will ultimately have to decide for themselves whether the topic of this debate asks us to look at actual practicalities or whether the topic could equally have been worded "every human has the right to vote for his or her head of state." I think that if that's what they wanted debated, that's what they would have written.

I would also just like to note that even if that were the topic, my opponent has offered no argument to back it up, simply asserted that it is a matter of moral and ethical fact. Since many countries, the United States included, have actually set up the selection process for head of state differently (for example, by having their legislative branch elect the head of state, or as we do through the Electoral College), I don't see that we can accept this statement as true without some form of argument to back it.


This debate is not about the legal differences between statehood statuses. My opponent would like to change the wording of our moderator’s chosen debate to aide his own victory. This debate It is about whether these people should be allowed to vote, not about statehood.


I must respectfully disagree. That the Insular Areas are not represented in the Electoral College is a legal difference based on statehood status. Residents of those areas do not vote in U.S. Presidential elections because of this difference. This debate is about whether they should be allowed to vote in U.S. Presidential elections despite the legal difference between statehood and unincorporated territory. There really is no way around this, and to refuse to examine the difference between States and Insular Areas is just an attempt pull the debate to a level of abstraction beyond what I think the topic authors had in mind.

My opponent says:


My argument is that any people, regardless of land or government status have the right to vote for their own leader.


Having excused himself from looking at the actual structure of the U.S. government and the Electoral College, this may be his only resort. But does he really mean to argue that there is only one possible correct way to choose a head of state: by direct popular election?

He has already stated that we are not here to debate the Electoral College. But that is the means of electing the U.S. President, and can hardly be ignored. It is, as I said in a previous post, a compromise position that was necessitated by the fact that the United States is first and foremost a Union of sovereign states. The Federal government is structured to act in the common interest of the member states, not to directly govern the citizens of the nation.

This distinction is not always respected, and the federal government has a history of trying to overreach its authority, but this is exactly why measures that ensure the autonomy and equal footing of states are so important.

The Insular Areas each have a head of state for whom they vote directly – just as the individual States each has a Governor who is the highest executive authority within the state. They also have the option of working with the U.S. Congress to become fully incorporated as part of the United States, in which case the Constitution in its entirety would become applicable to them.

But, and this is important, they also have the option of voting to move toward independence from the United States, as other former U.S. Territories have (the Marshall Islands, for example). As the colonial power, I think we have the duty to allow them self-determination in this matter.

I have a couple of Socratic Questions for my opponent:

You have said, “[T]he ability to vote for head of state exists by a higher moral and ethical authority.”

Socratic Question 1: what support can you offer for this statement?
Socratic Question 2: is direct popular vote the only moral and ethical means to elect a head of state?



posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 05:06 PM
link   

You have said, “[T]he ability to vote for head of state exists by a higher moral and ethical authority.”
Socratic Question 1: what support can you offer for this statement?


The moral code which exists and transcends all cultures and nations of a set of rules which all humans can employ. ‘Do not kill, rape, steal….’ regardless of current nation status or governmental system these are all rules which can be recognized by any human anywhere as what is right. True, what is right does not always triumph, but that does not make it any less right.

The ability to vote in an election to choose your leader is much less of a dramatic moral and ethical challenge and is not as obvious as ‘do not kill’, however I argue that it is just as important. Because that leader has the ability to enact laws or methods which could challenge the life/liberty of those below via taxation (which could inhibit a persons ability to pay for food/shelter) or conscription (which would put people in harms way without their consent) or any other law or method which would force a person to change when they had no say in the establishment of said leader which is making the changes. This is wrong.

Take away the ability for a person to voice their opinion is like the “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

If the leader is chosen for the citizens of the insular area than they will have less reason to get involved and will never learn the enlightenment that comes with having all the opportunity to get involved in politics and decisions that shape their own realm. Not that everyone would… but they should have the ability.

If the head of state is chosen for these people of the insular areas without their say: not only does that sound undemocratic but most US citizens I think would say that sounds like a dictatorship.


Socratic Question 2: is direct popular vote the only moral and ethical means to elect a head of state?


No that is not the only one. There are many voting methods which would be considered ethical and moral. The immoral and unethical part comes when one part of the realm of the USA is allowed to vote in the elections, and another part (insular areas) does not.



posted on Jan, 27 2010 @ 05:05 PM
link   
I apologize for my brevity today. I will only be able to respond to my opponent’s most recent post briefly and hope that I will be able to complete my argument and tie things up in my closing.

 


My opponent has introduced a couple of notions that I think are misleading. First, he has implied that since the U.S. President is the nominal “head of state” for these Insular Areas, but is not elected by them, this makes him a “dictator”. Second, he reasons that residents of the Insular Areas do not have opportunity to be politically involved because they don’t vote for President.

But they do have these opportunities: each of the territories in question has a governor who serves a 4-year term (the current Northern Mariana Islands governor will serve a five-year term because of a legislative decision to hold elections in even-numbered instead of odd-numbered years). Each has a legislative branch that residents elect representatives to. And each has a non-voting representative to the U.S. Congress who is elected by the residents of the territory.

In addition, they have the usual mayoral elections, referendums, etcetera.

My opponent would like to make it seem that the people of these territories are completely without say in their political life, but this is not the case.

While it is true that the U.S. President is the ultimate head of state in these territories, just as in the incorporated States, to infer as my opponent has that this creates a “dictatorship” situation is far from accurate. He cannot simply make policy for the Insular Areas – he is limited by their constitutions, the U.S. Constitution, and Congress. As is the case with the incorporated States, the responsibility of the President lies in issues that affect the nation as a whole, not with state governance.

Let’s not get overdramatic about what not voting for President means for these U.S. citizens and nationals. It is part of the peculiar status of unincorporated territories that they rely on the U.S. federal government for defense and foreign policy in particular. But that does not mean that they do not have a political voice.



posted on Jan, 28 2010 @ 05:10 PM
link   
In closing I would like to reaffirm my key points of this argument.

The people of the insular areas under debate exist under circumstances which my own opponent has called “undemocratic” within this very debate.

We have made a unified consensus here that these areas have an undemocratic system where a Head-Of-State is imposed without the opportunity to vote within those very elections.

The system of laws in its current state has determined that these areas be subject to taxation without representation in the Presidential elections.

The system of laws in its current state gives the US President the power to enact conscription in these lands where none had the right to voice opinion in the form of a vote for or against the ruler who could send them off to war.

We are not here in this forum to debate the effectiveness, and the ethics and morals of the US Electoral college. We are not here to debate statehood vs other lands titles… We are simply here to argue whether or not the people of the insular areas should be allowed to vote for their own head-of-state which is, in the case the President of the USA.



Imagine yourself in this situation:

-You are subject to taxes by a ruler you never had the ability to vote for/against.

-This head-of-state can enact conscription or other laws which could jeopardize your life and welfare.

-Other people just like you in other lands under the same ruler are allowed to vote, yet you are not.


I cannot imagine anyone honestly believing that such a authoritarian system of imposed ruler can be called ethical or moral.

When you put yourself in this position…. The answer is clear.
Should the people of the insular areas be allowed to vote for US President?
Of course they should.... because it is morally and ethically right.



posted on Jan, 29 2010 @ 04:37 PM
link   
Final Rebuttal:


The people of the insular areas under debate exist under circumstances which my own opponent has called “undemocratic” within this very debate.

We have made a unified consensus here that these areas have an undemocratic system where a Head-Of-State is imposed without the opportunity to vote within those very elections.


Actually, I said that at first sight the circumstances seem undemocratic. But then, so do the circumstances in the incorporated states: we do not elect our President by direct popular vote. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into the intricacies of democracy vs. republicanism in this debate, but I do think it’s necessary to recognize that the United States, technically, is a democratic republic, not a direct democracy. We should recognize that one of the greatest fears of our Founding Fathers was the potential for a so-called “tyranny of the majority,” and that it was out of this and related fears that the system of checks and balances among the branches of our government was inspired.

The truth is that the unincorporated Insular Areas all have democratic systems in which they hold direct elections for their own governors, for their territorial legislatures, and for their nonvoting representative to the U.S. Congress.

They have the right, and have been encouraged, to hold plebiscites on their territorial status.

They do not pay federal income tax to the U.S. Treasury, and their relationships to the incorporated United States differ with regard to citizenship, openness of immigration/emigration, and import/export customs.

It is the U.S. Congress, not the U.S. President, which decides which parts of the Constitution apply to the Insular Areas, and they have the freedom to enact legislation on many matters that would be unconstitutional if they had to abide by the complete Constitution and were held to the Equal Footing Principle that the incorporated states are.

Since I am opposed to any form of forced conscription, I no more believe that the U.S. President has the right to force unwilling men and women who have voted for him to fight than I do that he has the right to force those in the Insular Areas to fight. That’s another debate for another day, however.

My opponent has asked you to imagine yourselves in a situation where “You are subject to taxes by a ruler you never had the ability to vote for/against.”

But taxes are not levied by the President! Throughout this debate, my opponent has been arguing as though the President of the United States was an all-powerful dictator with complete control over the residents of the Insular Areas, as though Presidential elections were the only ones that mattered and people cannot be politically active unless they vote in Presidential elections, as though there was no judicial or legislative restraint at the federal level, not to mention no autonomous territorial government.

This is simply not the case.

 


The Insular Areas of the United States are not on an equal footing with the Incorporated States. This is a fact. They are part of the U.S., but they have not agreed to and are not bound by all of the United States Constitution. Instinctively, we may feel that their status, with its echoes of colonialism and imperialism, is unfair and outdated.

This may even be the case.

But the solution to this is not to give them representation in the Electoral College. The solution is to encourage them to move either toward statehood and full incorporation in the United States (along the lines that Hawaii followed, for example) or towards independence from and alliance with the United States (following the example of the Marshall Islands, which has since 1986 been an independent nation in Free Alliance with the U.S.).

The economic, social, and defensive interreliance of these areas and the federal government make it unreasonable for the U.S. to simply cut them off. They deserve the opportunity to work toward statehood. But full participation in the federal government should come in accord with the Equal Footing Doctrine.



posted on Jan, 29 2010 @ 05:04 PM
link   
We're off to the judges.



posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 01:54 PM
link   


Initially I was perplexed with ADB feeling the need to redefine the topic, specifically this part:

I would like to point out that the debate is not about whether or not the citizens of these areas should be allowed to vote in U.S. Presidential elections: it is about whether the citizens of U.S. Territories (by which I assume the debate topic author meant specifically the Insular Areas listed) should participate in this process while their current status as unincorporated territories is preserved.


I also found that ADB spent far too much time on commentary about what ASI was trying to convey and far too little on his own representation of the topic.

ASI seemed to lose energy at the end, and that is sad as I had ASI strongly in the lead up to that point. Brevity is one thing, but not fully addressing your opponent is death to a debate.

While I found ADB to be verbose without real structure, ASI’s lack of response and formulation at the very end sealed the deal.

americandingbat wins by a hair




Americandingbat/AllSeeingI

A rather interesting debate to judge. Both fighters made there stances quite clear from the start and both stuck to their position well with out giving too much ground.

Therefore, it was by strength of argument that i chose the winner for this debate, as neither really dominated the other fighter nor relinquished any ground in there side.

ASI used a tactic that I expected and based his argument on what is morally and ethically right for people, regardless of what current law states. He rightfully pointed out that many laws have been overturned or repealed due to them becoming outdated and to be found immoral and unethical. I did find his argument a little lacking in substance. He needed some more than just it is immoral and unethical. Historical precedence may have been something he looked into. I was also a little disappointed he didn't follow the taxation without representation line as it seemed a logical one.

ADB relied heavily on the difference between incorporated and unincorporated territories to base her argument on. She did well in the rebuttals of her opponents stance and showed some examples of different places, such as Hawaii and the Marshall Islands and the paths they chose in regards to their relationship to the US. When ASI did touch on the taxation without representation point, she easily refuted it.

Overall, great debate but I found in favour of americandingbat.


americandingbat wins and moves to the next round.

 
 


This debate is now open to comments from all fighters.



posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 10:27 AM
link   
Thanks to the judges!

And thanks to my opponent AllSeeingI. Although my first impression on reading the topic was that I had no case, I actually think that I got the stronger side of this one (for debate purposes anyway). You did a nice job with what you had, and I was uncertain of the outcome. Hope we see more of you in the debates!





new topics




 
14

log in

join