Lesson One: It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It


We’ve probably all heard this refrain at some time in our lives. And I feel that I’ve taken a page from the Republican playbook as I proceeded through round one of my moot court oral arguments.

No, they weren’t disastrous, but it were no where near as what it should have been. Further adding salt to the wound, my opponent could have made a strong case, but didn’t. There are legitimate issues for both sides, but some arguments are stronger than others. In times like this, I’d much rather stand on the merits of my brief. However, moot court does not truly afford that opportunity; equal weight is given to the presentation.

My opponent, although not putting forth a forceful argument, was at least calm, collected and able to navigate a cogent argument without any “um’s” or “aws.” I was impressed.

Although I have a strong gasp of the cases and understand the law, these things in themselves are not sufficient to guarantee winning presentation.

My performance during my oral argument, in part, reflected the conservative movement during the 2008 elections. Conservatives, theoretically, are able to present a sound argument for fiscal responsibility and social values, but they didn’t – at least not adequately. The left, on the other hand, waxed poetic and indeed garnered adherents to its philosophy.

Here is a recent example of newspeak brought by the University of Arizona, Dr. David Harris, “We want to use embryonic stem cells as good disease models, to study the disease and figure out how to treat it. Then, we use the other stem cells to actually treat it – we need money for both of those things.”

Oh, of course – we don’t actually want to treat people with embryonic stem cells; we want to use them just for research. Whew, I’m glad we dodged that moral bullet.

Allow me to reframe, “Embryonic stem cells are beneficial to research and treat diseases. But, we’ll draw the line at research, we don’t want to cross any ethical or moral lines.” But those innocuous comments like that of professor Harris essentially devalues life. And really, as conservatives, as Americans, – as human beings – it is imperative to understand the denigrating our existence only commoditizes the individual. In the end, we are used and thrown away. Make no mistake, this is no slippery slope – it’s the natural consequences for failing to protect life.

Incumbent upon conservatives is the duty to accurate convey and disseminate the elegant arguments promulgated by their opponents. Conservatives do have the stronger position, but unless they can clearly articulate it and thus convince others, society will continue sliding down the slope the liberals scoffed at.

Next week is round two of oral arguments. I’ll bring a new playbook there, and a new lesson here.

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