This I Believe: Self Discovery

Tracie - Dallas,, Texas
Entered on December 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I started researching capital punishment I not only expected to favor one side over the other, but I demanded it. Establishing which side I belonged to in this debate and then giving an extensive list of reasons that backed that opinion could be fun. I would be knowledgeable. I would be impressive. And I would be an example of someone who is strong in their beliefs. Using my newly found stance, I could identify with politicians who had the same beliefs as me. Also, I figured I could contribute a lot to this debate if it ever came up in a conversation. People would probably not expect to me to know so much about a somewhat adult debate at such a young age. But as my research went on, I found it increasingly harder to pick just one side. For this reason, I did not feel knowledgeable. I did not feel impressive. And I did not feel strong in my beliefs.

It was then that I started thinking, “I can identify good and bad things about the capital punishment system. Why do I have to pick one side over the other?” I like that capital punishment provides family members with a sense of closure. And I like that it guarantees that a criminal cannot commit future crime. But I do not feel this is a morally acceptable solution. I feel it is a cruel punishment, for the inmate, the inmate’s family, and the victim’s family. So you see, I have reasons supporting both sides of this debate. And I cannot weigh them against each other to find just one answer. Maybe this is why the debate has lasted for as long as it has; maybe people are like me and can find both pros and cons to the issue.

Looking back, I’m not sure why I felt forced to pick one clear cut stand at the end. My stand is that I do not have a stand. I choose to be in the middle. But ask me if I still feel knowledgeable, impressive, or strong in my beliefs and my answer to you will be yes. Because I believe… that choosing to stay in the middle of a debate is just as strong as choosing one side. Will I still be able to identify with politicians on this debate? Yes. And will I still be able to connect with other people who are discussing this debate? Absolutely. Not only will I be able to connect to other people, but I will be able to mediate between the two sides. I can show people that there are both positive and negative aspects to this debate. The pros and cons both need to be considered. Think about it. If everyone suddenly joined the same side or if everyone had the same reasoning, would this still be a great debate?