If someone name calls or labels, ask a few questions

Since our electorate in the US is largely uninformed about issues of import, politicians and pundits can get away with the use of derogatory names or labels to diminish the veracity of the others’ argument. For example, the Affordable Care Act has been called akin to Nazism, Apartheid and slavery by current Presidential candidates. This imperfect law is not only working pretty well, but is saving lives, something that none of these names could be accused of.

So, when you hear someone calling an opposing argument or someone’s idea with a negative name or label, do yourself and country a favor and pause. Then, ask that person or yourself, why would he or she say that? Why is the Affordable Care Act akin to slavery? Or, do you really believe that to be true or are you saying that to influence an uninformed public? To be frank, I find name callers or labelers to be short on argument, which is why they use the deception of the label.

In Florida and Wisconsin, this is taken to an extreme, when Governors Rick Scott and Scott Walker (yes, that one running first in Iowa) prohibit the use of the words climate change and global warming by state officials. Really? So, one of the greatest threats facing our planet should not be mentioned by state officials. So, the fact that Miami’s Dade and surrounding three counties are spending $200 million to keep sea water from coming up through street drains and the fact the Everglades is being encroached upon by sea water, does not give you the least bit concern? To be brutally frank, if I was surrounded by sea on three sides as Florida is, I would take climate change with much greater seriousness of purpose than its governor. Wisconsin should not let its governor off the hook on this issue either.

I am an Independent voter, who has been a Republican and a Democrat. I would call myself a fiscally conservative, socially progressive person. I want our government to make sure people are given a fair chance, but I want the government to spend the money wisely. I also believe there is an economic benefit to taking care of the environment, a position that the GOP used to hold more true, until they decided to be influenced more by the fossil fuel industry than ever before.

I mention this as my arguments are often discounted by conservatives, as I am labeled as  just a closet Democrat or as a tree hugger, so my opinions matter less to them. I usually respond that it appears I am a Democrat as the Republicans are on the wrong side of many more issues – climate change, poverty, health care, LGBT, immigration and guns, e.g. So, when I try to use fact based opinions, it may seem more one-sided. Mind you, the Democrats are not perfect, but they seem to talk about issues that are meaningful than contrived ones that don’t really matter much or are blown out of proportion. Yet, we need both parties talking about real issues and possible solutions.

So, my advice is to ask questions of politicians. Don’t let them shortchange the argument with names or labels meant to demonize. When I hear labels they are an automatic red-flag to dig deeper. Please dig with me as we all need to be truth seekers, especially since too many politicians have sold that right to the highest bidder and have an aversion to speaking the truth.

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28 thoughts on “If someone name calls or labels, ask a few questions

  1. I do think we are becoming more and more prone to stick a label on someone (any label) in order to save ourselves the trouble of listening to what they have to say, and perhaps having to change our minds.

    • Or, it could be a defense mechanism. Yet, I think your assertion is more accurate. It may be a bad Cliff Notes version – with a label the interpreter need not try as hard to see your point of view.

  2. I’m Canadian and our current Prime Minister sounds a lot like the Republicans you describe. Interestingly enough, like most of them, he is a social conservative and strongly influenced by the oil and gas industry. I’m hoping people look at the important issues here as well and don’t become too influenced by his attack ads, labels and demonization. Here’s hoping for progress in both countries.

    • Thanks for commenting. The oil and gas industry has significant political might and, some would say own the Republican Party here. But, with oil resource rich Canada, their influence is more global. If you want to watch a depressing documentary, watch “Merchants of Doubt” and you will see their handiwork on climate change denial. Best wishes on your truth seeking north of the border. BTG

  3. Note to Readers: If you ever find yourself on the target end of name calling or labeling, as I have been even from some legislators, the best defense is to not take the bait. If someone calls you a “Tree Hugger,” a good response might be, “Yes, I am, but why aren’t you? There is no Planet B, so we better take care of this one.” To anyone throwing “Nazism” around, you might say, “You know Nazism symbolizes a pretty evil time in our history. Do you really believe that this ‘target’ is as bad as that?”

  4. Every so often someone catches me off guard with the statement/question, “Don’t tell me that you’re one of those tree huggers.” I usually just look at them and say nothing.. it’s not because I am more ‘evolved,’ but I am dumbfounded that people still have trouble with those who care about our planet.

    You’re right.. in the long run, people are often affected most when you have the power to stay out of the verbal arguement…

      • You are right, and my mind knows that that person is feeling insecure when saying things like that, but every so often a person can be very artful with their skill of using words!

        I truly hurt/ache a little when I see an old tree that’s been cut, just so someone could claim that spot or to make room for man’s advancement or — (and I hurt at the thought) to fell a tree to get access to the honey —- something they’re doing in this area to those amazing ceibo trees. they’re basically hollow inside so the bees often place their hives up high.

        sigh.

      • On the good side, I did see Brazil’s president say she would spend to reforest some of the Amazon. But, to your point, it hurts to see trees come down. As for labelers, you are right to categorize the insecure from those who are Machiavellian with their comments.

    • When scary rhetoric is not challenged by reasonable people, then we should not be surprised when groups like these perpetuate violence. There is a group in Texas that says they are not crazy, yet they are convinced the US military exercises there are an attempt to invade Texas. The last time this happened, senators and the governor did not put an end to this BS and even threw a little gasoline on the fire. One of those senators is running for President. Yes, it is scary. Thanks for your comments. BTG

      • True. In the movie “Merchants of Doubt,” one the of the merchants bragged on his ability to win arguments over boring scientists, who were only telling the truth. Because of his kind, these scientists were getting death threats for doing their job and letting the science speak. Yet, this PR person knew it did not matter if he said openly what he was doing, as folks he was reaching would never watch the documentary which was based on paid liars like him. Per Roselynn’s blog, Mark Twain said “It is easier to fool someone, than to convince them they have been fooled.”

  5. Note to Readers: My children are all fascinated by Senator Bernie Sanders. He is truly a breath of fresh air as he calls things like he sees them. He also could out debate anyone on the GOP side as he is speaking from a more informed platform discussing issues of import. He is also making Hillary Clinton a better candidate. Yet, he won’t win a general election as the GOP would do a PR number on his being a Socialist, which should not, but does carry a negative connotation with uninformed voters. The fact that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are examples of socialistic programs would be lost. Oh, but I would to see him debate.

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