[eDebate] Falwell Passing

Dr. Joe Bellon debate.gsu
Tue May 15 15:36:56 CDT 2007


Look, you are unlikely to find anyone in the world who dislikes Falwell's
politics more than I do. Ask my debaters how uncomfortable it made me to be
in the same room with him. Still, let's not go clicking our heels too
publicly just yet, shall we?

It is simply rude to Falwell's family, friends, and supporters to celebrate
his death in this fashion, and so soon after his passing. Second, let us
hope that wishing death upon those who disagree with us is not something we
do with regularity, at least not seriously and never in public. Third,
Falwell was a powerful advocate of debate, and those of us on the left
should be excited when those on the right see debate as the proper activity
for resolving political differences.

These three are all arguments that others have made, in one form or another.
Let me add a fourth. Falwell was an incredibly skilled advocate of his own
cause (as anyone who ever sparred with him at the Liberty tournament can
attest). Perhaps you think this is not something that should be celebrated,
since we dislike his politics. I disagree. Without a skilled opponent to
contend against, your arguments will never succeed. If all you ever do is
preach to the choir, you will end up not being able to answer the objections
of those who truly differ with you. I will never forget my first encounter
with Falwell at a Liberty Q & A. I thought I was quite clever in asking him
a tough question. He made me look like a fool. It was then that I realized
how difficult the task of public argument truly is, and what kind of skills
are needed to succeed at it. Falwell was always bluntly open about his
conservative views, and he presented a challenge that anyone on the left
must be able to deal with. I do not wish to erase his existence, as though
he was the font of all evil.

Perhaps others will see this as some sort of facile justification for any
atrocity. Don't get it twisted: I would love to convince those who agree
with Falwell to change their minds, and it would be great if we could all
rise above intolerance. I have fought that fight all my life. I am not
saying bad people are good. I am saying that we should rejoice in victory
through persuasion and social evolution, not through death or suffering.

-Joe

On 5/15/07, Ramie Hernandez <rhernandez at loyolahs.edu> wrote:
>
>  I would like to echo the statements of Gordon and the others.  When I
> heard of Mr. Falwell's death, the first thing that came to my mind was how
> supportive he was of debate and the community in general.  As a serious
> Catholic, I can honestly say that I disagreed with Mr. Falwell's views.  As
> a debater, however, I must acknowledge his contributions to the activity and
> his willingness to stand up for and defend his beliefs.  And as a serious
> Catholic, I cannot applaud or rejoice in the death of any individual.  As
> Dr. Louden said, indeed there will be time to criticize  Mr. Falwell.  For
> the sake of his family and the Liberty community (especially their
> debaters), now is not the appropriate time to level criticism.
>
> Rami Hernandez
> English Teacher
> Director of Forensics
> Loyola High School of Los Angeles
>
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>
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