I have never been more proud to be an Emporia State student than I am right now. I attended the debate on abortion, which was held on April 5th, and was blown away by the amount of professionalism and respect that I witnessed.
From both sides of the argument, there were thought-out, well-researched answers to questions that are not usually easy to answer. I could genuinely see that the everyone involved was there to educate as well as learn, and not just promote their own hard-set ideals.
Since coming to college I had been waiting and hoping for an event like this. I wanted to see people’s opinions put to the test. I think the most important goals of attending college, in addition to receiving a formal education, is to have your views challenged by others.
Only when challenged can we truly realize what we feel. When we defend our views to others we are defending them to ourselves as well, and if the logic is strong enough we will be satisfied, and we will continue supporting that belief.
If there are holes in our logic then we must reevaluate our reliance on this viewpoint. Perhaps we follow that view because we were raised to or because it is aligned with another stronger belief such as religion. Whatever the reason, this journey of self-discovery is one of the most important experiences we can attain from college.
Many of us are afraid to admit doubt about our own ideals. It is better to convince ourselves we are right than to risk not really knowing how we feel. But once we admit we are unsure we have started down a path of new knowledge, one that will hopefully lead us to a better more satisfying answer.
That is what I felt the goal of this debate was: to help us all create a satisfying viewpoint on a very complex issue. It did not matter that we all left the debate in agreement; many did not. What was important was that we were able to form our own opinions and feel confident about them.
I must applaud the individuals that took part in the actual debate. They all did an excellent job of remaining on topic and not letting emotion seep into the issues that were discussed. I was impressed at the obvious amounts of research that both sides did in order to prepare for their speeches. As an audience member, that showed me they cared enough about this issue to put serious time and effort into preparation.
The work and style of the moderator, Leo Arellano, was also very helpful in setting the mood of open-mindedness that the event was trying to promote. He remained unaligned throughout the event, doing a skillful job of moving the conversation along and avoiding serious dead ends.
Of course the event did not go without its hiccups. At any event such as this especially one based on such a controversial subject matter there are bound to be people speaking out of turn. Overall, when this did take place, the moderator and the speakers did a good job of rerouting the course of the dialogue to more even ground.
This is the kind of event we need to see more of on campus. I would love to see this kind of thing occurring on a monthly basis. Abortion is just one of hundreds of issues that we should be addressing on campus. I think that if something as hotly debated and controversial as abortion can be discussed successfully on campus, that shows we could discuss just about anything.
People come to college for a variety of reasons. We come to be educated, to improve our social skills, and to prepare ourselves for the outside world. But one reason that is rarely discussed is coming to school to have our views challenged and our opinions expressed. This should be a foremost goal in any credible university. Just as an unexamined life is not worth living, an unexamined viewpoint is not worth defending.