Commentary

March 22, 2013

Argument construction

Senior Airman LIAM MILBURN
56th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy

One of the most vocal issues in American politics today is the gun control debate. This article does not seek to take sides in the debate, rather to temper the way in which Airmen choose to take part. Hopefully this will lead to more constructive debate tactics for this and future issues.

What we write in the public forum is available for all to see and judge. Facebook and Twitter are easy mediums in which to voice opinions. Statements can be added with an image and reposted ad nauseam. Sometimes though, the originators of these images get facts wrong, use misleading statements or post flat-out useless information as a scare tactic to incite others to their cause.

Monty Python best summed up an argument as a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition. By use of assertions (because, since, etc.) to state your main point, you follow it with an inference (implies, therefore etc.) Lastly the conclusion (therefore, concludes, it follows, etc.) of a good argument affirms your first assertion and is itself an assertion.

Countering the core of another person’s argument is the highest form of debate and it shows those you disagree with respect. By flat-out denying their position, or even worse directly insulting their point, intelligence, mother’s origin, etc., you become the failure.

Much of the debate online stems from a desire to be heard. If you truly want to have your voice heard and make a difference, I urge you to contact your congressional representative. It is their job to listen to those people in their districts as their job depends on it. Nothing says “I want action” better to a congressman than starting a letter or email with “I am a registered voter in your district.” While it may be unlikely that it will be personally read by the congressman, it will be read by his staff. This is how ordinary citizens can enter and possibly help sway the national discourse.

To find your representative, log on to www.house.gov, and click on ‘Find my Representative.’




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