What Do You Debate About?

Monday, April 08, 2019 - By: Amelia H, Allard ‘20; Photo by Andy Rain

“Oh, you debate? What do you debate about?”

It’s the question I have heard more times than I can count. I have come to expect it the same way I know I will be informed how much I’ve grown every time I meet one of my mum’s old friends. But the problem with this particular piece of small talk, is that there really is no answer. Unfortunately, I can’t just get away with a smile and a shrug. Especially this week. 

On Thursday, Jaylynn and I leave for Debate Nationals in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The tournament will host four impromptu rounds on anything within the realm of politics, philosophy, ethics, and economics, and two prepared rounds, one on each side of a small topic. You may have heard of it: Brexit. 

Needless to say, this is quite the topic to unpack. Nevertheless, I find that the process of preparing resolutions is one of the most rewarding and interesting parts of debating, regardless of how broad or difficult it may be. 

There is certainly a gut reaction to Brexit, which I believe to be prompted by the dilution of opinions within the general media. Yet, being forced to thoroughly understand both sides of issues which you think you have an objectively true perspective on is truly eye-opening and bias-eroding. Or, in this case, understanding every side of the self-confused hexagon that is Brexit. 

So really, I think that the answer to ‘what do we debate’ is most profoundly explained by the idea that we debate everything, and both sides of everything. The ability to practice objectivism and logical analysis in all facets of our society is what makes debate, debate. 

Amelia H, Allard ‘20

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