Last Call for Debates

The Santa Monica College debate team met yesterday at the quad to discuss current political issues that have unfolded during the election season. Debate topics included the drilling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), California's Proposition 2 regarding animal rights, tax policies, and benefits for undocumented residents, and Proposition 4 regarding abortion consent for minors.

'J.P.,' an SMC student, who wasn't satisfied with the debate, didn't appreciate the Democratic versus Republican setup of the debate. "There was a table missing for Ron Paul," he said. "[Both the Democratic and Republican representatives] didn't address monetary policies. They didn't focus on the main topic of the economy, which affects the stability of our local [Santa Monica] community."

Both sides showed exceptional signs of passion when discussing Proposition 4. The Democratic representatives began their argument with the assertion that a young woman who becomes pregnant has the sole responsibility of decision making over her body. The Republican representatives delivered their rebuttal by arguing that, without the consent of the parents, the American culture of family life would be compromised.

Both sides had an opposing view on every one of the issues that were addressed during the debate.

Student Melissa Brown questioned both sides on their stance on global trading and the negative effects that poor trading techniques have on impoverished workers of other countries.

Ilona Gerbakher, a debater representing the 'liberal, Democratic' side, responded to Brown's questions with a heartfelt response. "Although I am a citizen of the United States, I am also a citizen of both the world and the human race," Gerbakher said while delivering the question's rebuttal. "[Personally,] I don't mind paying five dollars more for [a product] if the person making it is a 12-year-old working for 12 hours a day for just cents an hour. If, by paying more, that child can make more of a living wage, that's OK with me."

Brown, however, wasn't satisfied with the answer of either side. "I didn't hear anything about what they were going to do," she said. "Both sides talked around the issues instead of facing them."

After an hour of passionately debating politics and human rights, Nate Brown, the coach of the debate team and the moderator of the event, introduced a topic to lighten the mood-the benefits and repercussions of installing an alcohol bar on campus. After a moment of laughter, both sides composed their arguments for and against a campus bar and delivered their arguments.

Associated Students Vice President Jafet Santiago found the event to be a success.
"I'm a moderate, so I like to hear both sides," he said. "It was also interesting that there were a few questions that weren't expected."