Passion or Practicality? Weighing Values in Discussion

Being on Student Government has had such a great impact on my life. Either as a senator or the big, bad Sergeant-At-Arms (well-equipped with my gavel of righteousness), I have cultivated an understanding of the importance of discussion in both a political and business setting.

Today, several groups approached us for official recognition and funding. Of these, the first was a video game club, a collaboration of self-proclaimed geeks trying to create a common ground for like-minded individuals.

After briefly stating the purpose and goals of the organization, we moved into discussion, as per Robert’s Rules of order.
Immediately, a very impassioned and outspoken senator raised her hand. In her familiar confident and in-your-face tone, she blatantly stated how horrible the idea of a video game club would be, considering “ninety percent of video games are violent.” She continued to say that it is not in the best interest of the university, seeing as how the university would not promote violence, whether real or virtual.

A legitimate argument, no?

Discussion continued, and the general consensus seemed to disagree with her, and the Webster University video game club received approval.

The question was raised in the closed session afterwards whether emotion, as demonstrated by that senator, proved to be vital in a professional discussion.

One major argument favored emotion, saying that it’s a tool for persuasion. Can’t disagree with that.

Yet what about the value of information, practicality, facts? This was the point I made. In any variety of professional settings, valid arguments are those that have facts. When a potential student organization approaches the board for approval, we should be, as I put it, “objectively opposed.” We must have facts to back up our point.

Though we had to end closed session, the question still irks me.
When I discuss, I like to have that balance. I, like everyone else should be, am very opinionated. Yet I will only debate an issue if I have the facts.

The biggest damage you can do to your image as a professional is let your emotions get in the way of doing business.

Standing up during a meeting of elected officials and yelling, “LIAR!” is what we call a bad idea.

And if you don’t know the answers, ask questions. A major reason we put more emotion than facts into our arguments is lack of knowledge. Asking questions will alleviate this problem. That way, we can gain vital information, form a better-educated opinion, and then add in the emotion.

We must find balance.
Which way do you lean?
Passion or Practicality?
Are you tipping the scale?

Sidenote: 68% of video games, not 90%, contain violent content.