Forget Lincoln-Douglas in the 19th century.

Forget Nixon-Kennedy in the 20th century.

Twitter feuds are the great 21st-century debates, and McHenry-Spiranac is one of the most entertaining in the new millennium.

Just remember that McHenry-Spiranac is far from presidential and unlikely to make American history.

McHenry is a conservative commentator and former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, 31, and Spiranac is Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie and professional golfer Paige Spiranac, 24, who recently told Golf Magazine that she doesn’t “have a spot in golf right now.”

Their debate Tuesday involved pop culture and the female body and the #MeToo movement and women’s rights and posing nude, issues they tackled because of the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I found it so interesting, I passed up a chance to drive to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

The issue includes a nude spread, “In Her Own Words,” where models have such words as “Unconditional,” “Worthy,” “Survivor” and “Every Voice Matters” displayed on their bodies.

Spiranac is best known for her Instagram account, which I call Cleavage Land, and surely SI will make her an even bigger celebrity, especially because of a photo from her Aruba shoot in which she wears nothing but a bikini bottom while placing her arms over her chest.

McHenry, who is known to show cleavage on her Instagram, went after the magazine at 9:43 a.m. with a tweet posing questions about nudity and female empowerment. Here it is:

Perhaps it was unwise for McHenry to attack the artful “In Her Own Words” project, but Spiranac seemed to take the tweet personally, and from what I have seen, she’s not included in the project.

Spiranac tweeted a response to McHenry about 30 minutes after the debate began and that led to more exchanges between the two. Here’s a screenshot of Spiranac’s first response:

At 10:30 a.m., McHenry closed with, “You’re both beautiful…and attention-seeking.”

Spiranac has 1.3 million Instagram followers, and at 66 years old, I’m among them because the messages that accompany her photos reflect an engaging personality and I was interested to see if her golf game would evolve.

Most of the Twitter comments I saw supported Spiranac and bashed McHenry, but I declare Britt The Agitator the debate winner for taking a bold view and maintaining it.

She scored early with her question, “Isn’t it more empowering to keep your clothes on, go into an office or classroom like everyone else and excel?”

And she scored again with these two gems:

“For men to respect women more, maybe women shouldn’t take all their clothes off in the guise of pushing #metoo

“Posing nude is a way to ascertain empowerment through vanity.”

That’s eloquence. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy would be proud.

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John E. Bialas
John, 65, is retired from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Miss., after a 45-year career there in which he was a sportswriter, weekend sports editor, book reviewer, rock music critic, copy editor, blogger, Facebook administrator and award-winning headline writer and page designer. He lives in Gulfport with his wife, Patricia, and writes the blog Pictures of Tilly which you can find at