Friday, April 11, 2003

Well, the long awaited forum has come and gone. Some reflections:

It's odd not to know who to root for in a debate. On the one hand, I was with the pro-war guy, cause I'm pro-war. On the other, I was with the OSU professor, because I'm pro-OSU and I despise Ashland University. Our professor gave a much better speech, coming from a rhetorical standpoint. But I thought he had some really lousy points. Lousy enough, in fact, to be so obviously socialistic that, as he stepped down, a guy in the audience shouted out "Workers of the World Unite!"

Today was more interesting to me. I got there in time for the interfaith religious discussion thing. The Unitarian representative was, well, as should be expected, erm, flakey. The Jewish representative got nailed on the state of Israel; I felt kind of bad for him. I felt annoyed that both of the Protestant ministers were actually sort of good while the Catholic was quasi-irritating. Though the Catholic wasn't as bad as he could have been; he basically just laid out just war principles without commenting on them very much, except to show which view was his. The Protestants, particularly the Calvinist (boo Calvinism!), actually got quite a bit closer to the heart of the issue, so far as I see it, than any of the others, noting that this is hardly a purely religious issue. The Muslim, an Iraqi Sunni, was actually quite good, though he sort of dodged a question from our resident Sudanese exile, regarding slavery and Islam.

Then came our turn for the student forum. It was sort of irritating that most of the crowd left by the time we got up there. But probably better for my nerves. I was extremely nervous when I got up there, and I'm not sure why, since there couldn't have been more than 25 people and two cameras in the room. I sort of choked on the first two focus questions, but I think I really did a lot better on the audience questions. In any case, I think I was the only kid who showed much spine, because while everyone else was trying to be inclusive, I actually engaged in a little debate. For instance, in regards to the question about what role religion has played in all this, I responded, in the midst of a longish rant (embarassing for me, since I'm usually much better in control of my own voice), that I thought one of the major problems with religion in this war and the modern world in general, is the fact that fundamentalist Christian groups tend to blindly support the state of Israel in all it's endeavors. For someone as pro-war as I am, I was actually pretty measured, and expressed an appreciation for dissent.

Nevertheless, I totally choked on the first two questions, and therefore, I feel like a dork.

Guess I'm supposed to be a speech-writer and not a speech-maker.