Earlier today, I was whining that I didn't feel like a debate today. I felt like doing the debate, but tomorrow or back on Tuesday - after all, Wednesday is my worst day, with no studies and two maths classes I no longer want to be in. Then I went to get my new reading glasses - they had FINALLY arrived. The frames themselves are awesome, are really comfortable, look great on me, and are of the neat flexible variety. There's only one problem: the prescription's wrong. I'm going to keep trialling them for about a week to see if I just need to adjust to them, but if they're still bad, I'll take them back and see what they can do. As it was, I got my old pair adjusted so they fit comfortably, and wore them during the debate.
The debate! Ahhh, the debate! I really started to get into things once I was in the room with my team, ready to go. And let me tell you this - our team ROCKS. We all rock. While I feel Heidi's performance was under her best (Mum disagrees with me on that count), it was still solid, and Christie (ha, I can finally spell it right) ... wow. I have never seen her debate before, and I was extremely impressed. I had these fears that she'd stuff up somehow, or that being in grade eleven would work to her disadvantage, but those concerns were totally unfounded. She did a wonderful job and I'll probably pull her aside at some point to tell her just how much she rocked out there. Then there was my speech. Apparently, it was one of my best speeches, if not the best. Key word there is 'apparently'. I really don't feel it was that great and I feel I could have done much better. Next time, I most certainly need to adjust my structure and work on my summary a bit more. Though I've said that after almost every debate, and what's more, I've only ever done about two speeches I've actually liked, so maybe that says something. I don't know.
In any case, the other team weren't bad, but the points of information totally rattled them - I threw the first speaker off so badly. He accepted my question, and oh, it turned into a nightmare for him. You could see it in his face and in how badly he stumbled over his reply. I just turned to ... oh, I can't remember who, either Heidi or Christie, with this smirk on my face. All in all, I think we put in a great effort, dealt with points of information significantly better, and made our position clear, though I felt the result was close.
It wasn't. We won by a country mile. WE WON. Oh yes, WE WON. We're through to the next round, and if you don't mind some more bragging, that means I am on one of the best eight teams in the state. It feels so good!
Enough of that now. Mum and Nan came up to see the debate, and on the way back, we had the most awesome discussion. It was on just about everything, and I love having smart, thinking relatives who can actually hold a serious and thoughtful conversation. It's quite a refreshing break from the inane banter I too often hear at school about some senselessly violent computer game or action movie. Don't ask me how, but somehow we got from the topic of the crisis in Sudan to the ridiculous poverty in the world to immigrants in New Zealand to how modern society (particularly my peers) don't have a clue and suffer from Comfort Zone Syndrome to ... well, it goes on.
But one interesting point worth giving some time to is that of helping the world's poor and suffering. Specifically, the point was raised that this crisis is so huge and people in the West live in their comfort zones so much that it is extremely hard to make ANY difference, let alone actually solve the problem. What can be done? Not just about Darfur, but about the whole problem of desperate poverty and major conflict. What can we as individuals do? What do we achieve? More importantly, what must be done to end poverty and solve these major world issues?
I personally take my example from Lech Walesa and the thousands in the communist Eastern bloc who rose against communism and WON. Look at the decades before that - communism was the "Red Menace" and it seemed unstoppable. I'm sure those of you who are educated in history are familiar with the Domino theory and the notion that if one country falls to communism, others will fall like dominoes. Was communism defeatable? Most certainly not! I don't like making assumptions about a period of time I didn't live in, but I am pretty confident that most people never thought communism could be defeated. However, look at what happened throughout Eastern Europe in the eighties. People were that sick and tired of their way of life, that unable to tolerate it, that they rose up in vast numbers and broke the back of communism. It's now fading away into the records of history and little more. What do we have here? We have proof that people power WORKS. When enough people feel so passionately about something that they will do what they can do change it, CHANGE HAPPENS. When a large body of people rise up against an injustice, that injustice is defeated. History is resplendent with examples of regimes being overthrown by a population unable to tolerate oppression any longer. When humans can band together and unite for a cause, THINGS GET DONE.
Sadly, we here in the West don't care. Our priorities are so misguided and our Comfort Zone Syndrome so severe that we wallow in apathy and don't even think of uniting to rebel against world injustice and poverty. What are we worried about? While Darfurian children are being burnt alive, what are we devastated about? Something obnoxiously petty, of course. Someone we liked got voted out of Big Brother, our favourite artist is no longer number one, our favourite television program has found a nice place in the trash can, our pastor said to tithe ten percent so we went somewhere with less expectation and more back-patting, and so on. Wow, I am just in AWE of that WONDERFUL perspective and compassion for humanity! Yes, that's my sarcasm at its finest. If you're going to cry, don't cry because the contestant you love didn't win some gameshow, cry because so many people worldwide are dying and YOU ARE TOO APATHETIC TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
Every day, I fight my own apathy. Every day, I fight my desire to decide problems are too big so I'll do nothing and hope it goes away eventually. Every day, I try to stop focusing on the pleasure of U2's music and focus on the far more serious message behind it (If the messages of Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky, and God Part II don't make you sit up and take notice, nothing will). And you know what? I think I am finally winning the battle. I feel lately, I have discovered an amazing sense of perspective, of a greater and more mature grasp of reality than I have had in the past. Maybe I'm just kidding myself and in two weeks, I'll look back on this and shake my head in embarrassment. I'd hope not, though.
In any case, I am rather worn out and I'd like to get some sleep. Just a couple of messages right now;
- purplicious is my hero and needs to keep up those exciting envelopes!
- Take my advice, everyone: don't start bleeding in the middle of class. It really doesn't look good.
I have so many more things I want to talk about tonight, but I guess they will have to wait for another time. It amazes me when people tell me my entries are so long, because I normally have many more things to say than I ever post. I guess I just have a lot of opinions. At least that's better than having none.