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“…Thus I advocate for the global suicide of humanity as a solution to anthropocentrism…” I dropped my pen, frozen in shock and hilarity. Surely this was a joke; although I had only attended a few debate tournaments, I had never encountered anything so radical. Mildly flustered, I stumbled over my words trying to explain to the judge how nonsensical my opponent’s proposition was; I had scoffed at the apparent ridiculousness but couldn’t quite articulate why this was so appalling. When the judge announced the decision in favor of my opponent, I was in disbelief—I couldn’t fathom how anyone could vote for such an obviously facetious argument—until he explained his decision. I realized that my opponent wasn’t seriously arguing for global suicide, but was merely using it as a starting point for discussion: he was provoking us to think, and think critically.

Debate is far more than just an activity: it’s a universe, a space for advocacy, change, discussion, humor, a microcosm of the political world. Debate offered a space in which I could role-play as a policymaker in my tattered hoodie and basketball shorts and tackle real-world social issues while sipping a Coke.

The progressive nature of the debate space allows it to accommodate a...

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