Debate Ideas, Not People

Ali Renckens


In America, we highly value our freedom. When our founding fathers drafted the Constitution, the first right that they established was freedom of speech. However, this does not include the right to say anything treasonous or offensive. Two core values of the YMCA that are essential to the progress of our nation are honesty and respect. Delegates must be honest enough to express how they feel about a proposal, but still remain respectful to the emotions and views of the other delegates in the room.

A mantra that encapsulates this concept is “debate ideas, not people”. It is possible, even necessary, to be able to tear an idea apart and continue to build a person up. As we enter General Assembly today, do not be afraid to share your opinion, even if the proposal author is a friend. If the idea is solid, it can withstand arguments. However, regardless of your position, always show the author the respect he or she deserves. Authors, please remember that debate is not personal.

(If the idea of being too easily offended offends you, I hear Canada is beautiful this time of year.)

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