Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Few Words (Seriously, Very Few) About Wall Street Reform and Debate For Senator Mitch McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:

I promised President Obama I would write this open letter since you consistently deny hearing from constituents who have working brains and consciences. I am a person, yet you never include my voice when you presume to speak for THE American People.

Debate, Senator McConnell, is not difficult for people who are informed, honest, and passionate. Your refusal to debate every bill that comes up tells me you must not be any of those. As much as I have criticized your poor leadership, I must admit that this is the one area in which your party has embraced your technique and trickled it down (whoa, nice to realize that finally worked with something). On the internet, people who actually support your position can’t spell filibuster or ignore those of us willing to debate facts so they echo your sentiments with statements like, “Your [sic] dumb!!!!!!!!!!!”, (which reads in a grating, Sarah Palin voice). On the streets, they shout, Baby killer or Communist, grab their pants before they fall past their knees, and deliver hand gestures, sometimes one finger and sometimes the pistol.

I’m sure you realize this does not help your cause, win friends or influence people, or widen what’s left of your base. Since it also does nothing for my community or my country, I would like to help you turn things around. I found a couple of internet sites devoted to teaching the art of debate. I copied an excerpt from triviumpursuit (here, followed by a link to the full version.

How to Get Started in Debate:

There are two things you will have to study if you want to participate in debate:

1. The principles of debate—logic, evidence, case construction, proof, refuting arguments, rebuttal, the brief, etc. Pick 3 or 4 debate books out of the debate bibliography located elsewhere on this web page and study them thoroughly (I especially recommend An Introduction to Argumentation and Debate by Christy Farris). View the debate video put out by Home School Legal Defense (watch it several times). Observe as many debates as you can. This will be difficult for some, but you might look into attending some college debates or government high school debates or private school debates. The more you observe and study the more familiar you will become with the procedures and terminology of debate.

2. The current debate topic. Each year there will be a different topic. It is best if you can start studying in June the topic for the coming school year. Studying the current debate topic is the most important part and the most time consuming part of debating. You must study the subject thoroughly, to learn all that is to be known about it. The more time and effort you give to preparation, the more effective debating you will do. The following are a few ideas on how to approach the study of ANY debate topic. Some of this information is taken from How to Debate by Summers, Whan, and Rousse.

We suggest that you follow these four steps:

1. Read for background information about the subject.

2. Prepare a comprehensive bibliography.

3. Collect as much material as you can find.

4. Read and study the material discovered.

From Triviumpursuit

(Please note that this site also links to a great ad for The Fallacy Detective, 38 lessons on how to recognize bad reasoning, written for Christian students so I think you will like it.)

If that seems like too much reading (see, I remember how much you hate to read), you can find a single-page lesson on debate here.

President Obama (he’s getting a little demanding, huh?) is also asking that you put the interests of the country ahead of your party. I think learning to debate before next week’s vote would be a great first step.

We need Wall Street Reform. What happened? You guys used to be such big fans of reform and suddenly, now that we have a President who is willing to go after big reform, you have cold feet? Some people would say, “Careful what you wish for,” but I favor a more positive messages like the first step is always the hardest and later you’ll look back and realize that the hardest times were the ones in which you learned the most. Be brave, Senator McConnell! Should you choose not to take my advice and retire immediately, you still have time to rescue your reputation. It will take some huge moves but I have faith that you can do that.

Speaking of time . . . you do realize that it is much too soon to judge the benefits of the economic stimulus and health care legislation, don’t you? You were only kidding (and not in a funny way) on Monday when you made those ridiculous statements about how the Democrats haven’t delivered, right? You might want to stop that because, seriously, you are no Jon Stewart and these jokes are flopping, big time.

In case you didn’t get the message, or this was too long for you to read, or you don't know me at all yet – I am in favor of Wall Street Reform, with no amendments (dilutions, sell-outs) to protect your pals and put THE American people at risk.

Eyes on you,


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