Don’t Judge Philodemic Before You Attend
By Aaron Kass
Before the smirk on your face makes you turn the page, hear me out. Recently, it has become evident that many people in the university community draw conclusions about certain organizations without attending any of their events. I am proud to say that I am a member of one such organization, the Philodemic Debate Society, the oldest organization on campus (established in 1830).
Merely saying the name of this organization can cause many people on campus to laugh, smirk or make some snide remark. I find this quite ridiculous. Where else at Georgetown can you speak your mind about any number of issues freely, without worrying that those listening will judge you for it? Where else on campus can you debate the death penalty, campus issues, Socrates and numerous other topics in a virtually non-competitive atmosphere, simply for the love of debate?
Epithets often heard about the Philodemic include the words staunchy, conservative or elitist. Why, you may ask? We ask people to wear nice clothes! Gasp! It’s okay. Read on and don’t worry … I won’t laugh at you or smirk. We ask people to dress up because it enhances the atmosphere of our debates and shows a certain degree of respect for an organization and form of intellectual stimulation older than not only us, but our great-grandparents. Guess what? We make you speak at three debates before you are eligible for membership! Gasp! We would like people to actually show some real interest in debate and a little bit of dedication before they may become a member. However, anyone may join. This policy simply ensures that our membership is relatively active. I do not think that the policy of encouraging a truly active membership deserves scorn.
As I said before, I find it ignorant to draw conclusions about organizations and the people in them without ever attending an event. If you attend a weekly Philodemic debate and find that after two hours, the clothing you are wearing makes you revile the organization, fine. I will not hold it against you. If you attend a debate and after some time become disgusted by the eloquent manner in which we attempt to speak or the topic at hand, you may walk out of the room and curse us from here to George Washington University. I will not hold it against you. Our debates take place on the second floor of Healy, next to the president’s office. Stop by and attend one debate, one Thursday night, for two hours out of your four years at Georgetown. Then, if you smirk, insult or maybe, just maybe, enjoy the experience, (it’s okay, we won’t tell) you’ll at least be well informed.
Aaron Kass is a junior in the College.
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