By Suraiya Afrina
As the nation awaits the final Presidential debate at Lynn University on Oct. 22, Stony Brook University offered its students their own second mock debate.
The College Democrats and the Speech and Debate Society faced off in a fast-paced Presidential debate, offering different nuances, on Tuesday, Oct. 9. The event was co-hosted by MALIK Fraternity, the Speech and Debate Society and the Stony Brook College Democrats.
Ian Schwarz and Danny Awalt Jr. represented the Obama administration, while Kareem Ibrahem and Sarah Ben-Moussa spoke for the Republican Party. All four participants’ political preference, however, is Democrat. Ben-Moussa, who previously participated for the College Democrats in the first debate, was chosen to speak on the Republican platform this time.
This was the second time the College Republicans did not show up for the debate.
“The events had already been fully planned well before our organization was notified, and every other participating party was reached out to before our group even knew of the existence of both events,” said the club’s president Laura Doukas in a statement for the press. “The coordinators chose to plan their events this way; it is unfortunate that it did not work out,”
Meanwhile, the College Republicans Treasurer Paul Grindle, who was present among the audience, said it was a “miscommunication between the College Republicans and the Speech and Debate Society.”
In response to Doukas’s comment, Ramy Noaman, President of the Speech and Debate Society said his club reached out to both parties at the same time and “attempted to contact the College Republicans since the summer and did not receive a word back.”
Even though the absence of the College Republicans resulted in all of the participants being liberal, Noaman felt this was not an issue.
The group believes that public discourse can be effective regardless of who the individual presenting the topic is, according to Noaman. As long as the research and information in accurately relayed anyone can achieve a respectful representation of any opinion. The group sees public discourse as a necessity to a democratic society.
SBUSDS’s club advisor, Wilbur Miller, along with Philosophy chair Edwardo Mendietta and Director of the Center for News Literacy Dean Miller, moderated the debate. Members from each platform tackled topics such as education, foreign policy, immigration, and the economy.
The first topic of the debate was the US foreign policy on the tension between Israel and Iran. Ibrahem representing the Republicans said Obama administration has failed to support the United States’ strongest ally, Israel.
“We really need to make it clear that we are backing [Israel],” said Ibrahem, “and we are not going to tolerate these tensions.”
Schwarz, in defense of the democrats, said that Obama’s administration has given approximately three billion dollars to Israel as support.
The topic of foreign policy continued when the debators were asked about the U.S involvement n the Arab spring. Awalt thinks the Arab spring need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Awalt said that there are different countries with different problems and cannot all be treated the same way.
But in response, Ibrahem thinks the US needs to be very cautious and take action right away. “We need to focus on how we are going to protect Israel’s interests in the best manner, and protect the interests of United States government.”
The debate then shifted to health care, and each platform seemed to verbally attack the other with their complaints.
“The first thing we would do upon getting into office is to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare is inherently ineffective,” said Ben-Moussa for the Republican side.
Ben-Moussa also thinks that health care is a state-by-state issue.
In response, Awalt teased Ben-Mouusa’s comment by saying, “During the post-Revolutionary war era each state had their own money. We saw how that went.”