Discourse and Democracy   /   Fall 2004   /    Introduction


From the Editors

Over the last several elections, the character of political discourse in America has seemed more and more like a shouting match, a ceaseless antiphonal ranting that seems only to serve the media’s need for a story or the politician’s aspiration for power. The most important and consequential issues of the day are presented in, and all too often decided upon, what amount to slogans or clichés— observations and opinions rendered within ten-second sound bites and manifestoes published in the latest direct mail copy or in paid political advertisements in The New York Times or The Washington Post. The shrill tone and clichéd content of much public discourse seems to leave little space for complexity, subtlety, and seriousness in public discussion.

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