In a similar vein to CNN's Crossfire, or when your grandfather opens up about his views on "the Northern problem," contentious political debate is coming to Norway. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's new show, Einig?Einig? (Agreed?) takes the bitter, aggressive, spiteful intensity we know to be public political debates out of contention and replaces them with a system that rewards positivity and politeness. The goal of the show isn't to find where the political opponents contend with one another, but instead it aims to bring them together over opinions on which they can both agree.

Einig(?) aims to take the competition out of politics and replace it with camaraderie. Imagine if instead of Trump and Clinton lambasting each other for their checkered personal histories, they instead spent their time on television coming together to agree that Katz's Deli truly makes the best pastrami in Manhattan.


The rules of the game are simple: don't interrupt or attack your opponent, but instead try listening to their arguments and understanding where they're coming from. The show is not live, and the guests are informed that the flashy argumentation and ad hominem attacks that make political debates such a viral, engrossing spectacle will be edited out in favor of civil, laid-back conversations about the issues. Gro Engen, the editor of Einig, describes the show as trying to "re-create that type of atmosphere" where the cameras are off and the guests are just speaking their minds to each other, perhaps over a cup of coffee, or what I can only assume is the Norwegian equivalent: snow-juice.

There's no moderator for Einig, in an effort to open up discussion by placing the responsibility on the contestants to foster multidimensional conversations on a diverse array of topics, ranging from abortion to tax legislation. The thesis of the show is simple: if there's no parental guidance, eventually the kids will discover that manners are the only way to get anything done. Tired of the political debate format that only perpetuates the "us vs. them" mentality that makes political discussion such a cage match, Einig recognizes that political issues stem from dilemmas that societies are placed in charge of solving, and by letting moral opponents form a framework of discussion around each dilemma at hand, the discussion can focus on intellectual compromises rather than emotional attacks.

The show was first released before their elections in September of 2019, before a Norwegian election that ended up surprising the pollsters as the smaller parties in Norway's multi-party system made large gains on the majority-holding Labour Party. Perhaps this proves exactly what Einig was setting out to do: voters are not divided along clear party lines. Instead, they (ideally) hold complex political opinions that vary from issue to issue, and platforms like Einig can help political candidates better express how they've drawn the conclusions they form their opinions around.

It would be interesting to imagine Joe Biden and Donald Trump in an unmoderated forum like Einig for their debates this fall. So much of American politics is boiled down to the highlights and soundbites of each debate, but if our candidates were able to casually sit down and sparse things out over a cup of coffee in a polite setting, maybe our political system would stop rewarding the loudest and brashest among us, and instead elevate complex thinkers and well-reasoned intellectuals to public office. Or maybe the U.S should let itself be annexed by Norway. Really, anything seems possible these days.

I'll say this up front so that there's zero confusion: Child sex trafficking is real, it's heinous, and it's been going on for a long time. Everyone who buys or sells a child or partakes in harming a child in any way should be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law. There is no place in civil society for people who sexually abuse children or who profit off of the abuse of children. Full stop. No question.

But we have careened into some twisted waters in our social discourse around child sex trafficking, to the point where the real issue of is being conflated with outrageous conspiracy theories that deflect from the real work being done to save children, put innocent people in harm's way, and interfere with the integrity of our elections.

I wrote about this issue recently and was met with accusations of being paid off by powerful pedophiles (ugh, seriously?), a flood of people saying "No, you're wrong!" while offering zero evidence, and a bunch of YouTube and Facebook videos that people seem to think are credible sources. I got fake screenshots of supposed Wikileaks emails that aren't actually on Wikileaks when you search for them. I got people who only listen to fringe outlets that have no oversight or accountability claiming that my well-cited, real news sources were a part of the whole conspiracy. All of that stuff I could ignore. Whackadoodles are gonna whackadoodle no matter how many facts you throw at them.

But I also got a few people sharing a list of nearly 100 politicians and other powerful people who have been convicted of child sex crimes. That was different, because it was factual.

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It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

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Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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Forrest Galante will never forget the first time he ever saw a shark in person. "I was 7 or 8 years old and was snorkeling with my grandfather," the outdoor adventure TV personality told Upworthy. "We were in Mozambique where I grew up and I was holding my grandfather's hand underwater as he guided me. It was a small reef shark. What seemed like this huge animal appeared out of nowhere, racing through the darkness and suddenly I was looking into its beautiful eyes. I was in awe but I also think I grabbed my granddad's hand just a little bit tighter."

25 years later, Galante, is a world-renowned conversation activist who hosts the Extinct or Alive program on Animal Planet. He has interacted with some of the planet's most intriguing and intimidating creatures but it's hard to think of a living creature that has more powerfully captured our collective imagination than sharks.

This year, Galante is hosting his schedule special as part of the legendary Shark Week series. In tonight's episode, Galante travels to the northeast coast of South Africa, the "Land of the Lost Sharks," where he looks to find the Pondicherry, a species of shark believed to have gone extinct decades ago.


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