Posted on July 02, 2011

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By Blake Goldstein

Although the blues club in Memphis has been my favorite moment so far, today has been the best day by far. Starting out the day with a solid two hour nap on our ride and my first Chick Fil A sandwich was great!

After lunch we watched the movie “Thank You For Smoking” as a way to teach us about the way people spin their arguments. I expected it to be a boring movie but it turned out to be humorous and interesting. The movie was about a man who is the lobbyist for the cigarette makers and we saw how he would twist words and information to work in his favor. It was so interesting to see how this man could use spin control to almost make smoking appealing to the public. A great quote I got from the movie is, “If you argue correctly, you are never wrong.”

After watching the movie, I really applied what I learned to the discussion we had with the Pro-Life speaker, Andrew Smith. My first impressions of him were that he seemed like a well mannered and educated man but as he spoke about the Pro Life side, I got pretty worked up. I thought some of his points had grounds while others had none. I won’t touch on everything he said because I could argue on and on but one thing I will quote and argue with him on would be when he spoke of the Declaration of Independence saying that we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  He said that “liberty isn’t doing what you want; it’s doing what’s right.”  Well what is right?  And who gets to determine that?  Abortion is a very grey subject but I do respect this man for taking the time to speak to a bunch of teenagers mainly supporting pro choice and it was interesting to hear his side; the video was very disturbing.

After the heated talk on abortion we went to the JFK Sixth floor museum and grassy knoll where JFK was shot.  It was very eerie to know that where we were is where he was shot and killed and hearing all of the different conspiracies was really creepy to think that maybe the government had something to do with it (which I think I believe).  Also looking down on the X’s in the street of the exact points of where he was shot it was interesting to see some cars purposely swerve so they won’t drive on the spot of his murder.

The last place we visited was a gay temple, Beth El Binah, and it was very fun to meet the very friendly congregation. Celebrating Shabbat with them was very enjoyable and I met another Blake!

P.S.: Everyone on this trip is amazing!