The End of True Debate

I went to Cardinal Spellman high school in the Bronx. In addition to being the alma matter of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, among other things, it had a forensics team that competed nationwide. In my senior year, I was proud to say I was President of that forensics team. For four years, I competed on the forensics team’s cross-ex debate team. To this day, I credited my experience on that team as being a significant part of the development of who I am today. The rules of cross-ex debate were simple enough if you were on the affirmative side of a debate, you needed to show:
Significance of both the problem and that the benefit must be substantial enough to merit changing state or national policies affecting millions of peoples, Inherency of the the problems cited must be inextricably connected to elements of the status quo that are relatively enduring or are unique to the status quo or cannot be eliminated without reform to the status quo.
The plan includes a concrete description of actions that will be taken to solve the problems cited in enough detail that the negative can understand and, potentially, criticize them. And finally
Solvency – present claims and ground to prove the plan’s benefits and that it solves the problems cited.
If you were on the negative side of the debate, you could win by proving through evidence that just one of the above was not true.
This I learned as a teenager. Sadly in today’s highest chamber of debate, Congress, none of this is practiced. Instead, the debates have devolved into I want; you can’t have, battle based not on facts and evidence and, most importantly, what’s right for the country but rather particular interest and if you have a (D) or an (R) after your name. Adults elected by the populous acting more like children and having temper tantrums when they can’t get their way.
I’m thankful for the life lessons debate taught me; I just wished most of Congress would share in those lessons.

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