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No Debate About It - A Letter to the Editor

No Debate About It - A Letter to the Editor .

Another great example of how an individual can help us break the media blockade and hold the media accountable to the people.  It was published in the Chicago Sun-Times on September 18th.

No debate about it: We need to hear more viewpoints

September 18, 2008
by Robert Radycki
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My Polish-born wife tells me stories about her father in post-World War II Poland that Americans should hear.

He used to put a blanket around the door to their apartment to listen to "Radio Free Europe” and "Voice of America” in the early morning or late evening. The radio had to be muffled so no one could hear. If you were caught listening by the Stalinist government, it was off to jail or to a mental hospital.

Yet Poles defied their masters. There was the fire in their bellies to seek the truth.

I am a native-born Chicagoan of Polish descent. After taking a trip to Europe as a college student, I decided to learn the Polish language. I’m glad I did, because recently I read in the Polish language paper Dziennik Zwiazkowy about an "Open the Debates" rally with Ralph Nader in Chicago’s old Polish immigrant neighborhood on the Northwest Side. My grandparents lived in that neighborhood when they first arrived from Poland, and I proudly returned there on a Saturday to again seek the path to a stronger democracy.

Unlike my father-in-law, I didn’t have to use a blanket to listen to the speaker, but I did have to read about this rally in a foreign language and not in my native English. I read about the rally not in the Chicago mainstream media but in a small ethnic newspaper.

Why do I have to go to alternative sources to seek the truth? Whatever happened in this country to Greek and British ideals of democracy? Have we sold out our souls for the almighty dollar?

Americans proudly declare, ‘"free speech” but what about, "free access?” Will I someday have to put a blanket over the door here in Chicago to listen to a foreign radio station in a foreign language so I can get the truth?

Many Americans this election year will never get to hear the issues presented to them free from the framing of vested interests. This is because the organization that sponsors our presidential debates was founded and continues to be run by former heads of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. This Commission on Presidential Debates deprives voters of an accurate choice and robust debate.

When the CPD took over, in 1987, the president of the League of Women Voters, the organization that had previously sponsored the debates, had this to say:

"The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debates … because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The league has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

I commend the Chicago Sun-Times for endorsing the Citizens’ Debate Commission. This initiative consists of national civic leaders from the left, center and right of the political spectrum who are committed to maximizing voter education. The spirit and promise of America still lives, but it gets harder and tougher to seek it out.

Open the debates!

Robert Radycki is a retired computer programmer who lives in Rogers Park, Chicago, IL.