By: Dylan Moran, Editor in Chief
DEBATE HEATING UP!
With the fate of the nation hanging in the balance, no single part of the United States can afford to ignore the prevailing political issue on the horizon – as the struggle to decide our commander in chief thickens, the heat of the conflict wasted no time in reaching Sayreville High School. Yet rather than let this boil over into simple arguments and baseless conjecture, one Sayreville student stood to redirect these conflicting views into something constructive: debate. Thus – the Sayreville Debate Club is born.
Spearheaded by Club President and sole member of the board as of this report’s publication, Nida Fatima, the club’s first meeting drew students in from all walks of life, political views, classes, and grades – amongst whom, luckily, were no shortage of Echo Lites reporters eager to document the fierce debate. “ Here, we threat each other with respect,” Fatima announces to the club attendees, leading the conversation from an impartial, moderator standpoint. “Everyone deserves to be heard.” She wastes no time in explaining the availability of club positions – a place on one of the debate teams being an obvious choice, or – for those with goals less directly connected to the argument itself – the positions of Judge or Historian (fact-checker), available by application process. However, for this first debate, the club was without said Judges or means of quickly gaining fact confirmation (although Fatima assures this void will be quickly filled as the club grows more organized) – only the teams, and their powerful views.
Opening the debate, teams were formed – the two obvious options, Democrats – supporters of Hillary Clinton – and Republicans – supporters of Donald Trump – quick to gain following. Surprisingly, however, a third competitor entered the ring by popular demand – a team representing the Green Party and presidential candidate Jill Stein stepping forward, with a smaller team than their competition, but no shortage of powerful points to hold their own.
Opening the debate was the Republican party – posing an argument which they described as “rooted in America’s history” – which proved to be far more literal than initially anticipated. Comparing their candidate to Third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson, stating: “We didn’t vote Thomas Jefferson based on how he treated people – and he treated people badly. He was president because he could do the job – and he didn’t do the job badly. Why can’t Donald Trump be the next Jefferson?” Speaking passionately regarding Trump’s history in the corporate world, they proclaimed with pride he could: “ Run our nation like a business.” Concluding their argument, they struck out against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, describing her as “a liar and a traitor”, and Jill Stein as “a waste of a vote”.
Speaking next was the representatives of the Green Party – the wildcard competitors posing their own argument not only for Jill Stein, but for the need of Third Party candidates to be treated seriously in our democracy. Opening their side of the debate, they began with a counter against the previous Republican speaker – deeming Jefferson an invalid comparison based on the dramatic shift in acceptable ethics since his era – before delivering their statements regarding Jill Stein. “Our president should not be the lesser of two evils,” the speakers on behalf of the group repeated throughout the debate – using this as their slogan of sorts throughout the experience. “She’s the competitor for a young voter – she wants to help us with student loans just like presidents before her bailed wall street tycoons out of debt.” Continuing, they make profound criticisms of the Two-Party System as a whole, noting: “The democrats and republicans get nothing done because they fight each other – what we need is a new, third party.”
Concluding the debate was the Democratic Party – represented by the largest group present at the debate, amongst whom were both Echo Lites Editors-In-Chief (Rehat Singh and myself), giving us an up close and personal view of the argument’s formation. Throughout the debate, groups gathered as a whole to speak, trading ideas and preparing responses to the arguments being presented, before electing a small number of speakers who rotated throughout the debate to give fair representation to the entire group and its views. Having put their argument together following the Green Party, the Democrats took an aggressive approach against the two arguments presented prior – a rare chance given by their placement as last to speak – joining the Green Party in their refusal to acknowledge “outdated historical views polluting the modern, evolved world” and deeming “Jill Stein’s plan to erase student debt nonsensical, her plans requiring movements the President lacks the authority to enact, and while she lacks opposition in the two-party system, she also lacks any support.” Speaking out for candidate Hillary Clinton, the group stated: “Our opposition’s unprovoked aggression to women, Mexicans, Muslims, and any who fail to inhabit the majority, betrays the core belief of our nation: a nation where anyone and everyone has a fair chance of succeeding. The first step towards that American Dream isn’t in oppression, it is in empowerment – and Hillary Clinton.”
The debate concluded without any officially declared winner – a lack of chosen Judges leaving the outcome of the first debate subjective. However, one cannot go without acknowledging the shocking amount of tact and respect this controversial issue was handled with – the Debate Club having handled their points with commendable respect to the subject matter. Moving forward, club president Nida Fatima expresses a firm desire to expand the club’s ranks – not only to include more debaters willing to speak out for their beliefs, but more willing and capable Judges and Historians to help lighten the heavy burden of organization at the events. Concluding the meeting, a vote was taken to determine the next debate’s topic, and by popular vote, the next topic of the Debate Club: the Death Penalty. Another divisive issue facing our nation, and one Debate Club President Fatima encourages incoming debaters to think about – from both points of view, be it for, or against. Those interested in debate have until the next meeting on December 1st to form their arguments or submit applications for Judge or Historian – as so long as there’s a question to pose, the Debate Club seeks to see to it that all the answers are heard.