I’m still feeling good from the weekend, just having gone through Monday. This is extraordinary, given that Mondays usually leave me stressed, headachey and exhausted by the mere thought of the rest of the week ahead. Today I managed to wake up for breakfast again (I realize how pathetic it sounds each time I tout this as an achievement), went to the computer room to do research on abortion for my debate later in the day, took surprisingly coherent notes in my criminal law lecture, and sat through a two hour long seminar on self-help remedies in contract without falling asleep even once. And all this with a general air of contentment, minus the sappy smile.
In the evening, I spoke in the debating society’s weekly Monday night debate, proposing the motion (with Nick and Terry) that This House Would Abort Abortion. For one of the first times ever, I actually did give a damn about the side I was arguing for. I usually don’t have extremely strong opinions either way because I don’t think I’m qualified or informed enough to form them, but the pro-life cause is something I do feel strongly about.
I lost the debate, as I had expected. Most of our Monday night audience votes according to their individual beliefs rather than on anything that is actually said in the debate, and most people these days probably think that abortion is a right. They’re entitled to that belief. But I do wish I hadn’t been destined to lose even before I stood up to speak, simply by the side I was on. All the same, we lost much more narrowly than I had expected, and there were people who voted for us against their own beliefs, because they felt we had given a better case. I do feel good about that – it meant I had succeeded in my lesser aim of challenging the assumption that the right to abortion is a natural manifestation of a modern liberal society.
This was probably one of the most satisfying Monday night debates I’ve spoken in so far, apart from my first one ever, last year, when I did This House Needs More Porn – it’s funny how they happen to be two debates that couldn’t be more different. I could still improve on my Monday night technique, though. Russ made mention of veins popping out on my neck and too much gesturing with my left hand, which I seriously hope doesn’t look as bad as I imagine it all looking. But despite my inner cringe at the thought, I’m glad he said it, gladder that he stayed to watch the debate even though that meant he probably ended up eating dinner past ten o’clock, and gladdest that he voted in proposition, because he wouldn’t have voted that way if the case we’d put forward hadn’t convinced him.
Eep. I should really get started on essay-writing. All the debating in the world won’t convince UCL to give me first class honours if I end up flunking all my classes.