wordcloudThe heart of a lively debate is a topic that engages both the speakers and audience. Resolutions for ACDU events can address a wide range of subjects, serious and not-so-serious alike.

Political topics are obviously of keen interest to Americans, perhaps never moreso than now. Economics, socio-cultural, education, the arts, sports, music, local affairs – all are fair game for civic debate.

We offer some guidelines that may help organizers in crafting winning resolutions.

  • Focus: resolutions should be specific enough to keep debaters from wandering too far off the path, but not so narrow that there is no freedom to explore relevant peripheral issues.
  • Wording: resolutions should be phrased so that they lend themselves to a clear pro and con, and further they should be constructed so that both sides have an equal chance to succeed.
  • Mix it up: Make sure subject areas rotate so as to keep things fresh.
  • Careful with partisan topics: political issues should be a staple of a healthy debate community, but topics that are overly partisan in wording might encourage undue contentiousness or, in the case of a house that agrees on most things, uninteresting one-sidedness.
  • Appeal to the house: the participants should have a major role in deciding what they will be debating about, and it’s a rare community that isn’t overrun with possible ideas.

And now, some specific topics that might be of interest. First, from the National Speech & Debate Association:

  • Resolved: Countries ought to prohibit the production of nuclear power.
  • Resolved: The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.
  • Resolved: Civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified.
  • Resolved: On balance, the benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms of decreased personal privacy.
  • Resolved: The United States should end Plan Colombia.
  • Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
  • Resolved: Science leaves no room for free will.

Here are ideas from headquarters:

  • Resolved: This house believes the Electoral College should be abolished.
  • Resolved: This house believes the US should adopt single-payor health care.
  • Resolved: This house believes democracy in the US is doomed to failure.
  • Resolved: This house believes The Beatles are the greatest band of all time.
  • Resolved: This house believes the US should be divided into two nations.
  • Resolved: This house believes Donald Trump and Andy Kaufman are the same person.
  • Resolved: This house believes Bill Russell was a greater basketball player than Michael Jordan. (Feel free to change the players and/or the sports on this one.)
  • Resolved: This house believes it is morally wrong to spend money on foreign aid when there is poverty here at home.
  • Resolved: This house believes the 2nd Amendment should be repealed.
  • Resolved: This house believes climate change may actually have advantages.
  • Resolved: This house believes aliens walk among us. And may even be in this room tonight.
  • Resolved: This house believes the defense budget should be cut in half.
  • Resolved: This house believes soccer will surpass American football in popularity within 20 years.
  • Resolved: This house believes that fracking should be banned.
  • Resolved: This house believes the Federal government should decriminalize all victimless crimes.
  • Resolved: This house believes America is a Christian nation.

If you have ideas you’d like to add to the list, contact the chair.