Some people don’t get debate. They think its mean, hateful, cruel. Questioning another’s opinions is too personal for some, and they think my advocacy for the activity is misaligned or unwise. Certainly something you don’t want to teach teenagers to do.
They are so incredibly wrong. Debate is healthy and should be fun. My debaters have a ball participating and their minds are sharper because of it. In fact, debate is an arena for viewers to shape their opinions and understand the truth. Very often the hottest and most contested debate rounds end with laughter and camaraderie between the debaters. They’ll tear each other limb-from-limb in the round, but they’re yucking it up in the student lounge talking about the hot round they had the hour before. I love it.
Even the presidential candidates can get together and yuck it up. Check out these two videos of the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Dinner, a Catholic charity whose tradition is to bring the two candidates together and give speeches jabbing one another. Both are hilarious, and I have a poll at the bottom asking which is better. Vote!