Finals: This House believes it is at the light at the end of the tunnel

No sense hiding it anymore, seeing as how almost everyone at the tournament was there to watch the final round. Being on Gov, we said that the resolution meant we had almost gotten past the fiscal crisis, but needed one last step to be really secure. Thus our plan, the last step, was banning the sale and usage of naked credit default swaps.

Debating against Bethany SS, one of its members being a finance major and general policy guru, we couldn’t rely on just confusing them with strange Econ jargon. That ended up ultimately being our undoing; the concept was entirely new to probably just about everyone in the room, and Bethany did a much better job describing CDS to the audience in a way that made them sound much less scary than our case made them out to be. They also used a rather large amount of food analogies during their speeches, and we just couldn’t compete with that.

We ended up losing on 3-0 decision, which made sense by me. SS is a very skilled team who always gives us a run for our money and did an excellent job handling an unexpected case.

Overall, we’re very pleased with how the tournament went. Kevin and I were honored to have made it as far as the final round, and in general the team had our faith restored in Minnesota debate a little bit when we didn’t lose just for bringing up theory or topicality in earlier rounds. We look forward to a potential rematch with Bethany SS at our next tournament, the PLUM 16.4 on Tuesday, February 5th!

– Alex


Semi Finals: This House would dissolve its union

This was going to be a very special round for me. For the very first time, we ended up getting placed on Opp against Concordia GE, a team featuring my former high school debate partner. So you can imagine my disdain and outright horror when, after prepping four disadvantages about labor unions, my former partner, the person who I learned everything about both debate and politics with, came up and interpreted the resolution to be about Taylor Swift.

Specifically, the plan was for Taylor Swift to “dissolve her union” with bad relationships. Breaking yet another Minnesota Parli taboo, Kevin and I ran topicality along with three disadvantages. We said that you don’t have a union with a trend, in the same way that you would never say I have a union with Mountain Dew just because I drink it frequently. We also claimed, that contrary to GE’s assertions, Taylor Swift would learn nothing about relationships by just being single for a year or two and that not having sad break ups would deny Ms. Swift her muse, thus rendering her a meaningless artist and causing an identity crisis.

Once again defying our preconceptions about Minnesota Parli, Kevin and I won on a 3-0 decision with two of the three judges citing topicality in their RFD. We felt slightly vindicated after struggling through such a strange round.

Quarter Finals: This House would crash the party

Kevin and I made quarters, and Nathaniel and Robbie were pretty close to making it in. It was a tough tournament, the largest one we’ve attended so far, so Kevin and I were very honored to break.

We finally got Gov again after a very fortunate coin toss and decided we just wanted a vanilla policy round; we interpreted the resolution to be a call to ending the party cartels are having in the US, so we ran the legalization of marijuana. We almost shot ourselves in the foot by not specifying a legal age limit, but managed to wiggle out of it by chalking age limits up to normal means and downplaying the health effects of the drug. Other than that, it was a standard round and we won on a 3-0 decision.

Round 4: This House would look to its past to shape its future

Minnesota Parli, everyone. First off, this is verbatim a resolution from State semis last year. Second, this is literally the vaguest resolution possible. You could’ve just wrote “Do an advantage”. Seriously, “This House would look at a harm to come up with solvency.”

Nathaniel and Robbie had the fortune of being Gov on this one and interpreted the resolution very generally about how introspection is ultimately good for effective decision making. They said it could’ve been better and it could’ve been worse.

In some sort of terrible aligning of the cosmos, Kevin and I were assigned Opp for the third time in four rounds. SCSU appeared to be having some issues with tabbing and powering. Furthermore indicating the universe was out to get us, our opponents were from Ripon College who, for the third time in four times we’ve debated their top team, decided to run a vague facts/values case pertaining to movies and art in general. Not willing to lose another round just because Kevin and I don’t know that much about art, as leader of opposition I threw all caution to the wind and ran a theory shell. In Minnesota. Apparently Minnesota Parli isn’t quite as troubled as we thought because we won the round and I personally got my one 30 in speaker points for the day. Some faith was restored.

Round 3: It is better to compromise than to stick to your principles

Oh boy, this round sure got wacky. I personally have never seen a clean round come out of a comparative resolution. The problem is that people inevitably interpret the resolution as a facts case, but the opposing elements are rarely the dichotomous split you’re lead to believe they are.

This resolution serves a perfect example. Compromise doesn’t inherently mean abandoning your principles, more like just giving up a preference. I think it’s not unreasonable to say that if I go to Perkins when I was more interested to a nicer restaurant, but none of my other friends wanted to pay money for a nicer restaurant, going to Perkins can be a compromise. However, I haven’t backed down from any principles by going there. So the resolution inevitably gets messy when either you need to define compromise weirdly in a way that always involves walking back on principles, or the Gov team gets tons of ground and the best of both worlds.

Everyone I talked to, both on the team and opponents as well, said the round was indeed a messy facts case arguing the resolution in a really broad context.

– Alex

Round 2: The United States is not safe

In what we start to see as an emerging pattern, Kevin and I debated a pretty normal round while Nathaniel and Robbie went the more esoteric route. On Opp, we decided to prep for gun control, which is exactly what we got. We unfortunately missed that the Gov team offered a criterion that we should only look at security in schools in terms of our impacts. We offered some arguments outside of the scope of that; ┬áthe criterion wasn’t discussed again until the Gov’s rebuttal, so we’re not sure how much bearing it’ll have on the round.

Nathaniel and Robbie took the resolution much more literally, saying that the United States is not safe from pretty much anything. Most specifically, the United States is a threat to itself. The debate ended up being more of a facts debate, and the statement that was trying to be proven either true or false was fairly subjective, so that’s probably a round that will be decided more on debate technique than pure substance.

– Alex

Round 1: The United States federal government needs more time

Kevin and I were on Gov while Robbie and Nathaniel were on Opp, and boy did these rounds take two different directions. Kevin and I interpreted the resolution to mean needing more time in order to prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change, which resulted in the plan talking about a gas tax and public transportation. Pretty vanilla, as far as Parli rounds go. Oh, and our judge referred to himself as “left of really left” and “Socialist/Marxist”, so we thought we were in at least the right frame of mind for the judge.

The team Nathaniel and Robbie went against interpreted the resolution to be about time lords. As in from the popular TV series Dr. Who. The government team had a plan about investing in astrophysical research leading to us being able to go back in time so that the U.S. “couldn’t make up history” because we would be seeing it firsthand. They also vaguely included something about forcing people to think more economically. In probably the most appropriate context ever, Nathaniel and Robbie ran topicality. The two gents also ran something about undermining state sovereignty, being that Nathaniel didn’t know what a time lord was and thought it was some sort of new bureaucratic position in the federal government. Apparently, the judge was also extremely interested in Nathaniel’s hiking boots that he wore in lieu of dress shoes, discussing the topic for over ten minutes before and after the round.

– Alex