Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Debaters and the Haters

Dictionary.com defines Debate as:


to argue or discuss (a question, issue, or the like), as in a legislative or public assembly: They debated the matter of free will

to dispute or disagree about: The homeowners debated the value of a road on the island.
 

to engage in formal argumentation or disputation with (another person, group, etc.): Jones will debate Smith. Harvard will debate Princeton.
 

to deliberate upon; consider: He debated his decision in the matter.

I am trying to figure out when the ability to debate a point, present a clear, concise argument, listen to the response to our argument, and rebut digressed to the personal attack peppered with words which include symbols i.e., a*^, c(*t, etc. 

When I was in high school I wanted to be on the debate team.  Unfortunately, my wallflower nature at the time prohibited me from ever attempting such a forefront feat of extrovert-ism.  I would listen to debates in high school or on TV and quietly formulate my rebuttal, using facts and my super hero powers of persuasion.  It was high school and I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.  Instead I grew up to manage a Rwandan cycling team, but I still enjoy a good debate.

When I was in the US this past month I had the misfortune of being subjected to the swing state mudslinging propaganda as a resident of Nevada.  The commercials and the newspaper stories (which are never reported objectively in Nevada), never listed actual issues.  It was attack attack attack.  I just wanted to know the facts on each candidate's platform.  Why was it so difficult to find?  I am an intelligent well read woman.  I don't need to be beaten over the head with the ferocity of a sledgehammer of "your" views.  Let me see the facts on both sides, weigh the effect it will have on my life, my views and make an educated decision.  Being called a Mittwit because I disagree with Obama on many points does not sway me toward your viewpoint.

Yesterday I wrote a blog about the UCI and the work they do in Africa against the framework of the current situation with doping.  I was shocked at the amount of traffic the blog generated, definitely a hot button of cycling and sports.  What surprised me most were the comments.  I received a few on the blog site itself, two I kept, including an anonymous one, which as a rule I never allow (if you can't own it you can't post it), one I deleted.  The two I kept I disagreed with on some points, however, they articulated their position and stated it in a coherent adult manner.  The deleted one did not.  

People will never agree on everything all the time...duh.  Because I don't agree with you doesn't mean we can't debate the issue and agree to disagree on some points, on others come to a consensus and some even be swayed to the others point of view.  

This was not the case on the Bike Radar Forum which posted a link to my blog.  

One comment:

"Of course, I disagree with what the author is basically saying about sweeping it under the carpet. But it's good to see some evidence of the UCI doing good work."

In my blog I never said sweep it under the rug.  I absolutely agree with most people, something needs to change at the UCI regarding the doping issues.  We need to learn from this era of rampant abuse and make changes to insure a fair future for all cyclists.  However, calling for the heads of UCI executives is not necessarily the answer.  Calling them names really doesn't work either:

"Mcquaid has been a c*nt ever since he ignored a worldwide sporting ban on competeing in South Africa in the seventies."

Using words which include symbols instead of letters, i.e., s(*t, f32k, etc does not validate your point nor does it encourage people to rethink their position.  For me personally, it makes me mentally delete your point entirely due to simple ignorance.  Do you personally know McQuaid?  How exactly does a c*nt symbolize McQuaid.  He's not a female.  C*nts, speaking from a female perspective, are fairly specific bodily organs.  Not getting the relationship between a vagina and McQuaid's alleged violations in the doping scandal.  

Someone (Obama fan) said to me when I was home in America, "Mitt's wife is a bitch!".  Really, and you know this how?  Did she come into your home, sleep with your husband and then blog about it?  If not, can you really call her a bitch?  Perhaps you could have said, "I feel she is out of touch because x, y, & z (real life examples which have been documented to be true).  I would have at least opened my mind.  Instead, I simply thought, "Wow, really?  You've always been so articulate about your political views, why the lapse?"

Election frenzy gets the best of most Americans, especially those of us in the infamous swing states.  Stay off Facebook!

If I do not have personal knowledge of a person, events, background OR I haven't done independent research based on factual documentation (twitter and Facebook do not count), I keep my mouth shut and simply listen until I can make an educated comment.  I try to choose my words carefully and from this vantage point.  However, I have also been known to stick my size 10 foot in my mouth and then beg forgiveness, it's a human thing.

Also, if you want to quote my blog, please actually use the real words which I wrote.  This is not anywhere in my blog yet the "poster" put it in quotes:

That blog is rubbish 'Please make all this drugs stuff go away so things can carry on as they are'

I have no problem you thinking my blog is "rubbish" obviously you might not be able to make the "rubbish" assumption because you clearly did not read it and are putting your words in my mouth.  You wrote those words not me, why?  It shows your opinions are entrenched not open to debate.  Fine, next.

As I read through the comments I wondered why we as adults cannot seem to make coherent arguments.  I am old school, literally.  When I went to school we had to write term papers and present our thesis and back it up logically, coherently and based on a factual foundation.  I came across an article last night in the October 1st, Atlantic Monthly, "The Writing Revolution".  I think this is behind the crazy posts on blogs, forums, twitter and facebook.


I appreciate all the comments, pro and con, about my blog post and my views on the UCI.  I also appreciate varying viewpoints.  My viewpoint comes from a 3 1/2 year stint in Africa.  Of course I will view things much differently than someone in the West.  These years in Africa and this filter have had a positive, unexpected benefit.  I come at everything in life with a little more compassion, a willingness to see the other side and a humbleness that perhaps we in the "western world" do not have all the answers all the time.  The most dramatic shift in thinking however, has come from the harshness of this place.  While a significant portion of the cycling world is fixated on bringing Lance, the UCI and others down, I am figuring out how to get a talented new 18 year old on a decent bike so he can start to race with Team Rwanda.  Priorities shift, reality sets in.  Life on the bandwagon of crucifixion is simply not part of my world.  Hopefully by the time this young rider, Valens, gets to the big leagues, it will be clean.



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