The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

SMU holds public debate on democracy

Conversation quickly heated up among student debaters and audience members at the Meadows public debate on democracy Wednesday.

Hosted by Ben Voth, director of the SMU Debate Program, a small audience of about 20 gathered in O’Donnell Hall at the Owen Arts Center to discuss the issue of whether or not the United States should give democracy assistance to the Middle East.

Four members of the debate team sparked the discussion, providing the audience with arguments both for and against the issue. When the speakers were finished the audience then had a chance to express their own opinions.

“We’re really trying to encourage debate on campus, debate here in Dallas and debate within a public community. It is vital that people are able to speak and argue about the issues of the day,” Voth said.

SMU student Brittany Dickey was the first to debate, offering three reasons why the United States should give aid to the Middle East.

Dickey’s first argument stated that the United States will end up paying either way.

“We can aid them now or fight in a war later,” Dickey said.

She then went on to discuss how the United States has a moral obligation to help the victims of dictatorship.

“Will we turn our backs on them as they are raped, beaten and slaughtered all because they are standing up for their rights?” Dickey asked.

Concluding with the argument that democracy works, Dickey left the audience with many ideas to think about.

Rahfin Faruk, a member of the SMU debate team, then took his place at the podium to counter argue Dickey’s position.

“Is there any guarantee that the billions of dollars we give these groups will result in democracy?” Faruk asked.

Faruk’s debate partner Anthony McAuliffe joined in his argument focusing on why the United States should not give aid to the Middle East.

McAuliffe first pointed out that democracy assistance spreads anti-Semitism across the Arab world.

He also discussed how democracy assistance simply does not work and has failed many times in the past.

“Democracy assistance does not actually go to the people who need it, it is just used by U.S. corporations to make a profit,” McAuliffe said.

Lastly, McAuliffe stated that the United States simply doesn’t have enough money to support other countries. He reminded the audience that in August social security checks almost didn’t go out.

“I’m pretty sure nobody in the country wants their grandma to go without food,” McAuliffe said.

When McAuliffe finished, SMU student Jordan Wondrack, in support of aiding the Middle East, took center stage to share her closing arguments.

“The reason we have to do this is because we need to be proactive and we need to look at the evidence,” she said. ” We just need to be patient.”

After all counter and closing remarks were finished, it was the audience’s turn to chime in. With many arguments both for and against the issue, it was clear that the group had a good time battling back and forth.

The SMU Debate Team will hold its next public debate Oct. 19, in the outdoor amphitheater of the J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building where they will discuss government Internet censorship.  

More to Discover