Speaking in the Community
††††††††††† In the first debate I argued against mandatory health care. This debate quickly became a pro/con argument of the Democratís Universal Healthcare plan. In my attack on Universal Healthcare, I began by acknowledging that our current system is broken, but that mandatory health care is not the solution. I argued that it would result in a poorly run government system, infringe on the right of young adults to opt out of health care to save money, eliminate competition, and reduce the incentive of pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs. While I didnít develop these arguments as well as I could have, they were pretty effective because they pointed out specific weaknesses in Universal Healthcare. The strongest portion of my argument was my contention that government healthcare would be of inferior quality. I felt that this was the best portion of my argument because I was able to bring in stories from my Canadian teammatesí experiences with their national system and my own experiences working in a German hospital. These personal stories exposed some of the flaws in nationalized healthcare systems, and the fact that I had first hand experience in this area gave my arguments some credibility.
††††††††††† In the second debate, I debated in favor of Universal healthcare. I argued that the current system is in dire need of reform and that Universal healthcare would provide necessary insurance for the 47 million uninsured. I also stated that the US is the only industrialized nation not to have some form of universal healthcare and that we as a society are obligated to provide healthcare for everyone. I felt that I did a much better job in the opening argument, using a fact based approach in which I first showed the extent of the problem and then the costs that the Universal healthcare solution would entail. Having a lot of supporting facts, decent organization, and then introducing the moral argument that it is our obligation to provide all Americans with healthcare, made it a pretty strong opening case for Universal Healthcare.
††††††††††† I ran into trouble in both debates because of several major shortcomings including poor structure, not following arguments to their logical conclusion, and not arguing in an energetic and persuasive manner. I think that the most important thing I need to improve is my organization during speaking. There were many points were I wasnít sure where to go next, and ended up saying filler material, stuttering, or pausing awkwardly. Next time I debate, I need to have four or five primary arguments and prepared responses to anticipated counterarguments.
††††††††††† In the
I also need to make a conscious
effort to fully develop my arguments. Both of the judges told me afterwards
that I made some good points, but did little to develop them. They felt that I
argued by stating multiple arguments, but never advanced past the basic
details. For example, one of my arguments against Universal Healthcare was that
it would decrease the incentive of pharmaceutical companies to research and
develop new drugs. However, as the judge pointed out, I only said this would
slow the development of new drugs, neglecting to mention that this would lead
to the weakening of the pharmaceutical industry in the
Finally, I need to focus on improving my argumentative tone and actions. Rather than being repetitive and unfocused, I need to speak in an organized, clear, and confident manner. I also need to improve my body language including using my hands to gesture and emphasize points.