[eDebate] Final Thoughts on Roe

Marissa Silber luvmarissa
Wed Apr 12 11:10:23 CDT 2006

I am sorry for filling people's inboxes, but I once again feel the need to 
participate in this discussion. While I too am busy, I feel strongly about 
the way women in this activity are being portrayed -

I think it is incredibly unfair of Nicole R.  to say she is speaking for the 
invisible voices in the community. While I agree with her that many people 
fear posting to edebate and that may be a problem, she is NOT the only one 
receiving backchannels. After I posted my reasons why putting Roe on the 
topic was a good idea and responding to some of the claims being made, I 
received a flood of im's, emails, even phone calls of women and men thanking 
me for my response. There are many people in debate who would like to talk 
about Roe and/or think switch side debate is good. And what about my voice? 
I think switch-side debate is good - why do I have to constantly be told by 
women in this community that I should feel delegitimized for that. To me, 
that is ridiculous - I don't see why I can't argue that we should increase 
women's participation and comfort in debate WHILE defending topical plans, 
switch side debate, etc. I love the traditional game of policy debate and so 
do many other women - STOP making it sound like all women are against the 
way debate is going and also this topic. I don't know if I am visible or 
invisible under your definition, but let me speak for myself. STOP ASSUMING 

This argument that women have had abortions does not seem like a reason to 
exclude Roe. I am sorry but we talk about plenty of topics that can touch 
people's hearts. We debate about racism - you don't think this touches 
people's hearts and creates an uncomfortable environment? How we did we talk 
about native american oppression? That's got to be way more difficult for 
some people than I could ever understand. This argument is infinitely 
regressive, and I guess the best example of this would come from a debate I 
judged this year. While I don't think debate should have to ever get this 
personal where I should have to share this example to the entire community, 
I think it serves as a great example as to why this argument could apply to 
anything in debate and why it may be good to force us to suck it up and 
think about these issues.  I had the pleasure of judging two of my favorite 
teams this year, Dartmouth BM and Wake CH early in the year. The debate 
(shockingly) was about whether death was good and whether we should fear it 
- comments about whether we should commit suicide, be willing to risk our 
lives, etc. were debated about. Well, for those of you who don't know, this 
was about as personal as you could get for me, considering my dad who I 
loved so much committed suicide this past August. But guess what, despite me 
crying through giving my decision and feeling uncomfortable through the 
debate, an EXCELLENT debate happened and I made an objective decision. When 
Dartmouth asked me if they should stop making this argument in front of me, 
I said absolutely not - debaters should get to talk about what they want and 
despite topics being personal for judges and debaters (which everyone can 
have certain personal feelings about any issue and the debaters would not 
know) - it also allowed both teams to think about how they use this argument 
as a game.  I could give many other examples where I have felt attached to 
topics, such as when we talk about sexual discrimination (which I have 
unfortunately faced EVEN on edebate) but this is just more of a reason to 
talk about the issues!

People who have had an abortion don't necessarily have to talk about it - 
like I said the debates within this community should hopefully be a lot more 
high-tech than that. There will be other aff choices, the negative has tons 
of flexibility. And I am sorry, but many of the people arguing against Roe 
are the same people that want debate to be personal, including talking about 
how women are personally affected by the way our community, or the state, 

There is a horrible contradiction being made by certain people in the 
community - there are arguments for stopping the exclusion of women in this 
activity and then suggestions that we shouldn't talk about issues that 
effect women.

One last reminder - as you vote, there is NO guarantee that Roe will even be 
on the overturn topic. Please don't let these discussions deter you from 
voting for the overturn topic if you otherwise think it is a good idea.

Marissa Silber

>From: nrichter at umsis.miami.edu
>To: edebate <eDebate at ndtceda.com>
>Subject: [eDebate] Final Thoughts on Roe
>Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 10:56:02 -0400 (EDT)
>I have taken some time off from this discussion to regain the emotional
>strength necessary to re-enter the debate. I cannot speak about this topic 
>in a
>detached sense, and my entire life is affected by this discussion, so I am
>ready to make a final statement and move on. I know there are many 
>arguments that I do not have the time to respond to (my thesis is due in a
>week, and I do not have the ability to respond to everyone's thoughts). But 
>general, I think they overlook the most troubling aspects of this topic. 
>try to listen with an open mind and heart:
>1. I am speaking for the invisible voices in this community. I have gotten 
>flood of e-mails from womyn (and men) who do not feel comfortable talking 
>this issue in the public sphere. They see the repercussions of posting on 
>debate and they fear being criticized and silenced by members of this
>community. They do not feel safe to speak out. If you believe the debate 
>this is open, I urge to consider the voices that are not visible because 
>fear being neglected and delegitimized through arguments about why 
>debate" is good or the educational value of the topic. The truth of the 
>is that there are womyn all across the country that support the position 
>and I are taking, but because of privacy and fear they cannot come forward. 
>completely understand their position. I have felt hurt and attacked by some
>posts over the last couple of days, when my goal is really to just to call
>attention to the voices we do not hear. Nicole and I are not alone.
>2. There are womyn in this community that have had abortions. I urge you to
>consider their ability to debate this topic and the potential consequences
>these debates might have on those womyn. Some womyn that have abortions 
>have no
>emotional trauma, but some feel extreme shame and guilt about what they 
>done. Some womyn become extremely depressed, lead a life of self-hatred, 
>some even commit suicide as a result. I don't feel comfortable forcing 
>womyn to debate about their personal experience. Inevitably, they will be
>negative against a team that approaches this from the right, and I don't 
>to sponsor a decrease in the self-esteem of these womyn. Yes, personal
>experience is important in debate, but should we force it? Many womyn 
>debate this from a detached standpoint. I want to make this community safer 
>womyn, I feel that debating Roe undermines that goal. Debating this topic 
>further ostracize some womyn in this community. My evidence to support 
>the womyn that already feel unable to participate in this discussion. I 
>even if participation is increased by debating this topic, we will lose the
>most important participants. I think we should consider the feelings and
>thoughts of those in the community affected by this topic, not commodify 
>suffering for the educational value of switch side debate, and seriously
>consider the psychological damage this could do to womyn in this community.
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>eDebate at ndtceda.com

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