First, i do not mean this post to justify the language used by myself or my partner during our quarters round at state, only to protest the mindnumbingly pointless and utterly ridiculus chain of bureaucracy that was responsible for our immediate disqualification from the last tournament that myself and Katie were ever to compete in, which just so happened to be the State tournament and last tournament of the year. I have a few major (or should i say damning, the word for which i was protested against) problems with the decision reached.
1. This was the last tournament of the year and, arbitrarily, the first tournament in which a protest of the language used in a debate round was filed. Some sort of signal huh? i assume this was the reason that they made their decision (them being the committee compromised of 2 delegates from each class of debate).
2. We apologized to the judges for what was said. They could have at any moment withdrawn their protest but instead stoodfast in their decision to punish us for beliefs that they hold dear. Never once was there a discussion of what had happened during the debate round until it was seemingly too late to do anything about it. Meaning that we had absolutely no idea that we had done anything wrong until it was vaguely refered to by Mr. G by his stating that our disclosure had to be accompanied by a message of "the debate is under protest". At this point we were notified that Bowser had voted for us and filed a protest and that Danner had dropped us and filed a protest. Instead of going to the root of the problem and confronting the people who unknowingly offended them they went straight to the administration, something which i consider not only cowardly but incredibly pompous. Our protesters did not even have the decency (if i may still be able to value decency) to let us know what was happening, and I am 100% in belief that had Mr. G not told us that they would have not said a word about it until we got the unfortunate message that we had been disqualified from our last State debate tournament.
3. We did not receive an option to argue or defend ourselves in front of the commitee, something rather undemocratic to say the least.
4. There is not list of words that are considered profanity, hence my confusion that someone would take offense to using the term "damning" in the very same context that it was used in the very same bible that Bowser pulled out during his oral decision. The protest was highly arbitrary and is a very vague rule within the OSSAA guidelines, which state something about it being the judges discretion. This begs a few questions. Bowser stated that he was offended that our argument of "Fear of Death is inevitable" does not account for "people of faith" who believe in salvation through some God or some son of that God, regardless of the religious beliefs of the debaters themselves. This implies in my mind that anything that is against the morals of the judge could be considered "offensive" in the Oklahoma Debate since of the term. This could range from "Bush Bad" politics disadvantages (I was once docked all my speaker points for saying "Condoleesa Rice the wicked witch of the west" and know someone who was once given 0 speaks because of his attire which consisted of a skirt, which was worn to protest the ban on gay marriage) to any type of critical argument that question the basic "accepted" assumption of the status quo. Arguments that question the security policies of our government or even question the capitalism or democracy that our country is founded upon could buy you a disqualification.
5. They could have given us a warning, which would have functionally accomplished the same thing as shown by Tommy Ferguson's show at East Side Regionals, or the judges could have simply let us know what we did wrong seeing that this was our first offense, katie nor i ever having been in any serious disiplinary problems be it in debate or in school.
6. Danner did not follow proper protocal (or as i like to refer to it, using bureaucracy to fight bureaucracy). Judges are supposed to file the protest and evaluate the round as if the protest had not been fired. But apparently our uttering of 3 words at a high rate of speed offended Ms. Danner so much that either she forgot about proper protocol or was taking a personal stance against our actions by bypassing the rules.
I think that is good enough. I could go on forever. Lastly, I hope that Ms. Danner and Mr. Bowser realize the scope of their actions. You devestated a wonderful young woman today by your conduct. You did not just take a self reightous stance against profanity but caused real tears to be shed. This marks the 3rd year in a row that this woman has been eliminated in the quarters round. Thank you for continuing the curse and putting the last nail in the coffin, nay stake in the heart of a young person who will most likely be an infinitely better person than either one of you will ever be and accomplish twice as much (this last point I state with the utmost of assurance). You did not punish some hooligan who curses regularly or is disrespectful or is a bad person (however you define bad person, I assume it is anyone who does not hold the bible as a scientific document supported by 100% truth) but you punished high school debater, someone that you were like at one point in time, by taking away the thing that she wanted most, a chance at being the state champion. You both made your decisions quickly and against two people that you do not know, and will definately never know. Is the utterance of three words worth the hardship that you have put two people thorugh? Is the magnitude of suffering equal on both sides. Were you moved to tears but the words uttered because of their offensiveness? No. Absolutely not. They were words that you have heard a million times and have undoubtedly let slip at least a few times. Thanks for killing a dream. Thanks for standing up for what you believe in regardless of the consequences. Thank you for making me realize how arbitrary and ridiculous this activity has become in the state of Oklahoma. Most of all thank you for helping me to not feel bad when i think to myself that i will never debate in the state of Oklahoma again.