[eDebate] Andy, The issue is not creativity within a topic--but whether you have a burden to affirm the topic

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Wed Jun 27 01:34:43 CDT 2007

I want to clarify one point Andy brought up. Creativity within a chosen
resolution is fine with me. In fifteen years of coaching and judging debates, I
can literally count on one hand the times I actually voted negative on a
topicality violation. In fact, i can only remember voting for T once in the
past ten years. It was an impressive T debate that I still use as an example to
students. (Emory vs. miami on the issue of whether a carbon tax was a

These Mid-East resolutions, because they are so flawed, make it extremely easy
for affirmatives to offer interpretations of the resolutuon that were not
intended by the Topic Committee. While I am sure they all want us to debate the
"Grand Bargain" with Iran, almost literally word for word the terms of the
resolution, there is still plenty of room for people to debate important
issues--just as important as getting out of Iraq, or whether we should wipeout
smallpox as a species.

One quick example: Some people riduculed my question of whether governments in
exile would be topical. Well, given that the PLA now has two decidely distinct
governments, would anybody suggest that a case for constructive engagment with
Abbas, the West bank PLA government would not be topical? There is PLENTY of
literature on the subject. And, of course, it turns the hell out of any Israel
disads. Alternatively, Jimmy Carter is calling for constructive engagement with
the PLA government of Hamas in Gaza. Would that also be topical? So now there
are two topical cases--CE with the "government of the PLA" that are, in fact,
mutually exclusive (I'd love to see the plan versus counter-plan debate, one
takes Fatah, the other takes Hamas for a real throw down).

The government of Syria refuses to recognize that a soveriegn government of
Lebanon exists. Does engagement with the controlling factions of Lebanon really
constitute engagement with the government of Lebanon?

Is Hamas a "government" because it controls territory in Gaza? They did win the
election by the way.  If so, does Hamas in Lebanon constitute a "government" of
Lebanon, given that they control certain land areas and political districts of
southern Lebanon?

Notice that the resolutuions to be voted on do not say "national governments
of..." It just says "government of"..... Does this mean we can work with the
Iranian Caspian Sea conservation district to save the sturgeons without
necessarily having to engage the National Government being run by people
calling for the extermination of Israel?

That is just a play on the term "government."

"foriegn aid" and "security guarantees" have huge amoutns of room for the teams
willing to put it on the line. I would tell you, but I want to have a few cases
left to run this Fall.

The issue for me, and I bet for Ken and Jim and others, has NEVER been whether
teams should be able to creatively interpret, or creatively affirm the
resolution. The only only issue is that they actually affirm the the
resolution, either through a plan, or through some other form of affirmation.
This provides everyone-aff., neg., and the judge, with a clear starting point
for discussion and debate. And, if the affirmative chooses to use their time to
affirm something other than the resolution, they should not pick up the ballot.


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