Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Are High School Policy Debaters Like Terrorists?

Next year high school policy debaters across the country will be debating: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.  Like all high school students, they will be using the Internet to research.  Unlike most, they may garner some interest from the Department of Homeland Security.  According to this Lifehacker post,
The US Department of Homeland Security has released a list of the keywords and phrases the agency monitors online to find potential threats. Obviously posting "Al Queda" and "dirty bomb" online will get the government to start looking at you real closely, but "pork" and other oddly normal words are also on the list.
Given that high school policy debaters are a curious lot, I expect them to use all of the terms that the department's Analysts Desktop Binder lists under it Infrastructure Security section.  Further, most affirmative plans will be met with a argument that will claim that enacting the plan will cause extinction or nuclear war.  The story follows the format of a DirectTV commercial so closely that I'm convinced the creator of this series was a policy debater.

Next fall, students will probably make Department of Homeland security analysts earn their pay as debaters type in "infrastructure," "collapse," "airplane," and "extinction."

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