Thank you for judging

“There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.” -James 4:12

I’m starting to feel like debate is an apt metaphor for a lot of things. Lately I’ve been seeing that  we all throw ourselves into different things, into different directions. A lot of us are looking for attention, recognition, competition. We usually find one of these at least, but I’m beginning to believe these three don’t really matter. If you have some one to conquer, some one to show up, some one to decimate in your chosen pastime, you have competition. If you do well enough at this, you have recognition. If you continue on this path you will eventually receive the attention you crave. I doubt, however, that any of this will ever be enough for any of us. Because the more attention we get, the more competition we want, the recognition we strive for, the more attention we need. This system of our personalities sets us up for disappointment every time.

At the end of a debate round, there’s no clapping. There’s no cheering. No one whistles or even smiles most of the time (unless it’s a CX round, then they are just excited it’s finally over.) Even after two or three or five rounds when you leave, there’s nothing. You just get in the van and sleep or read ballots finding out what you did wrong. At the end of the debate round, you shake hands with the other team and say “Thank you for judging.”

You don’t go into the round for what comes next. If you haul your cookies to school at 6:30 so that you can hear Baby Davis say “Not too bad…for you.” then there is something wrong with you.  When I realized this I started to think “Then why do we do it?”

Despite the “real world” benefits, like the fact that you become a better reader, a better speaking, a spiffier dresser, etc, it’s really all about growing. The actually actions. The actually effort. Not the result of them.

I’m feeling more and more like I don’t need people to clap for me. When you think about it, at the end our of lives, it’s not like clapping. We have a service, a sad party, basically a handshake to our companions throughout our time here. Then we meet God, and what more could we say than “Thank you”? Thank you for giving us a paradigm. Thank you for keeping time. Thank you for watching us. Thank you for judging.

Morgan Freeman wouldn’t debate me on that.


Take Back The 20? Take A Step Back Instead

In our lives we are plagued by the constant need to make choices. We can always choose to hate, to be violent (or to suggest violence), to blame, to hurt, and to be generally ugly. We can also choice to be apologetic, to be kind, to be caring, and to be loving. That being said, I am very disturbed by events of this past weekend described in the article posted above. Chronologically in my upset, violent imagery and suggestively violent diction–no matter the intent–is wrong. It is unclassy. It is hateful. It is often uttered by people who wonder the problem with American youth. I feel like if people were more careful about what they said and did (or had a little debater follow them around dismantling their every verbal faux pas), we would all be a little better off. If you don’t intend to shoot people, don’t put cross hairs on the map. That is unnecessary violence being brought to the table. Politics should be the sport of caring, intellectual, people who can deal with conflict in an adult manner.  If you are going to solve your problem with “The 20” like an 8 year old boy hyped up on Mountain Dew and Call of Duty, then I can’t respect your ability to lead any portion of the country. If I’m alone in that, then I’ll be even more upset then I was when I started. Secondly, the shooting itself is an unspeakable tragedy for our country, and I’d like to ask your prayers for the victims, families, and constituents affected by it. That being said, this is not the time to assign blame. Six people are dead and you are arguing over a matter of clip art? Six people are dead and all that you can bring yourself to do is point fingers in either direction and yell?  Six people are dead and you are running frantically around your office shutting down websites and Facebook groups? That’s what really makes me sick. We are spewing out these and thats about how “Crazy isn’t ideology” and this man was “crazy and evil” we aren’t like him. We are beautiful, wonderful, blameless, shameless Americans. Don’t get mad at us. It hurts to see that even in the face of devastation, we can still make it all about us. Six people died this weekend and I really feel like it’s not all about you. It’s not all about your Congressional seat. It’s not all about the political affiliations of anyone involved. It’s not even about whether or not you are among the ‘involved’. Believe it or not, it’s bigger than that.