[eDebate] Falwell

Beth Skinner beth.skinner
Tue May 15 22:11:15 CDT 2007


I'm not getting into the specifics of all these arguments but will turn
instead to the topic of death and how we relate to it.  One point that's
recurred in this discussion is the 'now is not the time for criticism'
thread.  I think that the closer we are in time or relationship to a
traumatic loss the less we might be used to hearing criticisms of the dead
person but that is a question of manners and propriety - not a question of
rightness or wrongness of someone's estimation of the dead person's value.

I'll give an example.  In March I was judging a round at WVU JV/Novice
nationals when I found out my dad had died.  Part of my head stayed in the
very interesting "Where the Wild Things Are" round while a smaller part was
remembering my dad and in particular times when he read stories like that to
me.  Now my dad wasn't an angel or a devil and definitely not above
criticism but if someone that weekend had been pointing out his flaws things
would not have turned out well for that person.  Lucky for me I wasn't
subscribed to a listserv where people were discussing him.  I don't suppose
that Dr. Falwell's family is hearing anything at all from edebate but if
they are its nothing in comparison to what is in the whole rest of the media
- this was a man who lived his life in plain view of the world.

That leaves the debaters who were touched by Dr. Falwell's life and death.
When I die I hope that people reflect kindly on me but that's not what I
live for (and I'm pretty sure that he didn't either).  I'll hope for my
debaters that people say "Beth was a good person" instead of "she was an
evil fascist" but if that's what people feel then they should say it.  If
you believe in the power debate holds then you shouldn't censor thoughts
like that.  The idea that its ok to criticize someone only after an
appropriate period of time is just a question of manners.  I think that
makes it also fair to ask whether its good manners to say that abortionists
were to blame for the 9/11 attacks.  Or to that AIDS is god's punishment for
a society that allows homosexuality.  Or that if you're not born again
you're a failure as a human being.  Etc.  My point is that having listened
to Dr. Falwell best the smartest debaters year after year at the Liberty
question and answer sessions that his response to 'you said something mean'
was almost never to apologize for it - it was to defend it.  I think he
really did believe in the power of debate.

Beth





On 5/15/07, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> This is not a guy who buys pepsi when i am a coke man...its not opples and
> boonoonoos...again my argument is not we cant celebrate the good parts its
> that the bad parts outweigh them...I will say again i would trade everygood
> thing he did in debate if it meant he would not have led the moral majority
> to their increidible political power...
>
> On 5/15/07, jpzompe at ilstu.edu <jpzompe at ilstu.edu> wrote:
> >
> > Abhoring Falwell's politics, but respecting what he did for debate, is
> > not
> > "downright dangerous."
> >
> > It is a political reality -- a reality that apparently you have no
> > grasp of. The point of the matter is that we live in a world where
> > people don't always
> > agree.  We have differences.  I don't appreciate some of the comments or
> > policies that emerged as a result of Falwell, but that doesn't mean I
> > can't
> > appreciate some of the good things he did.
> >
> > Your politics is the one that is dangerous, Andy.  If we all believed as
> > you,
> > dogmatism would rampant throughout every town and city in America.  No
> > one
> > would ever get along.  Violence would be commonplace in your world,
> > where it
> > was okay for people to dismiss literally everything other people do or
> > believe
> > simply because there is a disagreement.
> >
> > There is nothing wrong with feeling passionate about what you believe,
> > Andy. But therein is where you have more in common with Falwell than
> > you'd probably
> > like to admit.
> >
> > zomp
> >
> >
> > Quoting Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com>:
> >
> > > Uh, there seem to be a few arguments from a resounding number of
> > posts.
> > >
> > > First let me say.. I apologize to falwells family, friends, students,
> > and
> > > supporters, if any of them are reading edebate on this terrible day
> > then i
> > > am sorry if my words have added to their sorrow, and suffering....i
> > honestly
> > > thought my response was not likely to even be a blip on the "sorrow"
> > radar
> > > for those intimatly connected to this death, and i honestly still
> > think
> > > thats the case...i think its realitivly easy to pile on and say there
> > goes
> > > andy being rude and insensitive, and this is the worst sin ever, but
> > really,
> > > its not, and im not at the familys space telling them that their man
> > > deserved to die, nor am i desecrating his grave, and in reality if he
> > was an
> > > important part in your life why the hell are you cocnerened on this
> > day
> > > about what i have to say about it?
> > >
> > > Now some answers....
> > >
> > > Kevin talks about times when falwell made him smile when he was alive.
> >
> > >
> > > i agree i love the fact that he submitted himself to a debate
> > community that
> > > was for the most part hostile to him, in fact i think its a sign that
> > he is
> > > strong in his convictions.
> > >
> > > I smiled at these times as well.
> > >
> > > I also smile when i think about the debate team he created, and the
> > region
> > > his support helped to thrive.
> > >
> > > Maybe, at times that didnt seem clear. and maybe it wasnt even at
> > times to
> > > me, but at the end of the day good job on building a great debate
> > team, ill
> > > never take that away from him...
> > >
> > > But i guess when i remember back to those banquets what i most
> > appreicated
> > > was the way falwell stood by his convictions, he preferred to spar
> > with
> > > those who disagreed with him, not to engage in friendly banter with
> > those
> > > who agreed, he stood from a position of power, i mean he was winning
> > the
> > > fight for the soul of america that he had been engaging for several
> > decades,
> > > and those that vehemetly disagreed with him where a sign of his
> > success.
> > >
> > >
> > > Then a bunch of people say...But damn he did sooooooo much for debate.
> > >
> > > Let me put this this way. I voted for melissa wade as god on facebook,
> > i
> > > think she rocks...solid....if in addition to the debbate work she did
> > she
> > > started a eurohetropatriarchy supremacist movement, that spread viraly
> > > through the american political culture i dont really think i would
> > ignore
> > > the white supremacist movement in order to celebrate her debate
> > > success....simply put i can concede all the jerry good for debate
> > arguments
> > > and if the cost of all that is the power of the moral majority in
> > american
> > > politics then its not worth it.
> > >
> > > Im sorry if that notion is troubling, but to me its absolutly scarry
> > that
> > > "no one hates  the politics as much as i do" but he WAS good for
> > debate.
> > >
> > > Did you ever think that perhaps he started and supported the debate
> > team and
> > > the college in the futherence of that politics?
> > >
> > > Even not making that argument im just not in the for the "he helped us
> > so we
> > > will side step his evil" argument. You may say my its good when people
> > i
> > > dont like die argument is a jsutification for all sorts of bad stuff,
> > but it
> > > at least is no worse than " but he was good for debate"
> > >
> > > Herndon Says...how do you honor his life,...i think its simple, i dont
> > > pretend for thesake of civility he did not accomplish all that he did.
> > I
> > > vehemetly disagree with what he accomplished, but you all seem to be
> > willing
> > > to like pretend most of that work didnt occur and al he did was hook
> > up some
> > > underserved debaters.
> > >
> > > Lets see what else...
> > >
> > > why didint you celebrate saddams death, what if you died, you arnt
> > > consistent, you are an ass....oh and falwell was not a dictator like
> > pol
> > > pot...ok fair enough and neither was che or reagan or cheney , look
> > the
> > > point of all that was that people who are as politically revolutionary
> > as
> > > falwell, inevitably through their success generate dislike and hatred,
> > most
> > > of them like falwell have some blood on their hands as a result of
> > their
> > > politics, thus some people smile when they die....
> > >
> > >
> > > really, i dont get what this fight is about, i may have been
> > insensitive,
> > > but in order to challeneg my insensitivity you all are making some
> > > tragically bad arguments...not all of you mind you, but the ones who
> > say " i
> > > hate his politics but he has done so much for debate" are downright
> > > dangerous.
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Joseph P. Zompetti, Ph.D.
> > Director of Forensics
> > Illinois State University
> > School of Communication
> > www.isuforensics.com
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------
> > This message was sent using Illinois State University Webmail.
> >
> >
> >
>
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