TAHS Mock Election Club to host ‘Community Debate Watch’

The Tyrone Area High School Mock Election Club will be hosting a free and public invited “Community Debate Watch” this Wednesday, October 15 at 8:30 p.m. at the middle school LGI room, for the final presidential debate between Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama.
High school Civics teacher Todd Cammarata heads up Tyrone’s Mock Election Club, which held a similar event in 2004 with much success. He hopes this year’s debate watch will at least equal, if not surpass, the student and community involvement of 2004.
This year’s event is part of a program called “DebateWatch”. It’s a nationwide voter education program sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Its goal is to bring citizens of all ages and backgrounds together to watch the televised presidential debates, talk about what they learn, and share with others in a relaxed environment.
Cammarata said that at the conclusion of the debate, instead of listening to the pundits and the spin-masters, the television will be turned off and participants will be given an opportunity to discuss and comment on what they heard in the debate from the candidates, such as the issues that were addressed.
He said the event is non-partisan and anyone is welcome to attend. He anticipates not just students taking part in the event, but also their parents and any other interested members of the community – especially undecided voters.
“The only guidelines for post-debate discussion is that everyone agrees to be open to opposing points of view and to keep the discussion civil,” stated Cammarata. “I think it’s very important for students to learn that respectful disagreement is a vital part of our political process.”
Cammarata noted that those in attendance will be encouraged to participate in the post-debate discussion, but people who are more comfortable listening rather than speaking, are more than welcome to attend.
“Students are very interested in the election this year,” said Cammarata. “They understand that the challenges facing the country right now are serious and that the next president will have a difficult job to do.”
Cammarata added that he thinks students sense the historic nature of the 2008 presidential election, with the first African-American nominee of a major party and only the second female vice presidential candidate in United States history.
Light refreshments will be served Wednesday night compliments of the Tyrone High School Mock Election Club.