Monday, December 16, 2013

Name calling

A woman I sort of know seems to really enjoy posting controversial topics about politics and religion and getting embroiled in debates with other people.  Actually, I'd say the term "debate" is a loose one, because she rarely keeps her arguments civilized.  Most of the time, when I see her posting a news article about something involving politics and religion, I know that someone will take the bait and argue with her.  And the argument will soon degenerate into personal insults, condescension, and general abuse.

A few days ago, this person posted a news article about the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego, which a judge recently ordered must be dismantled and taken down because it is a religious symbol on federally owned land.  My Facebook "friend" is against this and advised people who are offended by the massive cross to "advert"[sic] their eyes.

Naturally, a couple of people argued with her about this, pointing out that it's unconstitutional for a government owned property to promote any specific religion.  My Facebook friend and a couple of other people then fired back.  It was interesting to read the debate, since it seemed to dissolve into emotion and then insulting language very quickly.  Emotion I can understand, but how about these insults?  I have bolded them for your convenience.

  • Terri  Gary, google it. Educate yourself.
  • Gary  "Taken care of in 2003 or 2004"? But it says that as of 2005, it was declared to be federal land.
  • Terri  head into brick wall. Are you seriously incompetent to research something? I was THERE for the thing.
  • Gary  Terri, I'm sure that if I "Google it" I will find numerous citations from sites with an agenda claiming that it is private property. However, to my knowledge Yahoo doesn't have an agenda and it says that as of 2006 it was federal land. Now, if there is some more recent information correcting that, please provide me with an actual unbiased source.
  • Gary  You were there for WHAT thing?
  • Gary  Terri, you posted a link to a Yahoo article, and I have extracted a quote from the very article you linked to that says it is federal land. If you have ANOTHER link that contradicts that, then please provide it.
  • Terri  I have my life experience. RESEARCH it. I am done.
  • Gary  I am researching. Haven't found a single site yet that claims the cross is on private land. Not even Fox News.
  • Terri  Since you are too stupid to find it
    Bush Signs Law to Save War Memorial Cross - New York Times
    President Bush sided with cross supporters who contend that it forms part of a secular war memorial on a hill in San Diego.
    Gary Yes, and now a district court has found that since that law made Mount Soledad federal land, that religious symbols should not be mounted on it. (Of course, I'm not surprised that the Republican Congress of 2005/2006 passed a law trying to protect a religious symbol without realizing that the law itself, by making the property a federal property, would be unconstitutional.)

  • Gary Terri -- really? "Stupid"? That's more than a little condescending and insulting. But thank you for posting a link from the New York Times rather than Breitbart. Point is, if we accept that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is desireable, then the act of making the property federal land means that religious symbols should not be displayed there regardless of what it says elsewhere in the law.

  • Terri You said you were looking. You were not able to find. It wasn't hard, Google isn't rocket science!
  • Terri Is the doctrine of separation of church and state desirable?!
  • Gary Terri, what I said was that I couldn't find anything saying that anything since 2006 had made the property into something other than federal land. First principles -- if it is federal property, then religious symbols have no place there, period, full stop. Even if Congress passes a law to try to get around that principle.
  • Terri The separation of church and state...where is that a law or and referendum or anything?
  • Gary Yes, Terri, the separation of church and state IS desireable, as Christ himself said. If we did not separate church and state, then it would be possible when/if another religious group gets to be a majority in the country for religious symbols that you don't like to be erected with your Christian tax dollars.

    Terri Again, I asked the question wanting an opinion. I am THRILLED you have some brain cells, enough that you are not one of those idiots who believes it is in the Constitution! Kudos for know THAT much!
  • Gary While the words "wall between church and state" obviously do not exist in the constitution, the principle certainly exists there, right in the First Amendment. As has been upheld by numerous Supreme Court decisions, and as will be upheld when and if this case goes to the Supreme Court.
  • Terri  free speech is HARDLY the same thing, but you ARE making laugh pretty damn hard at your attempts today!
  • Gary  Ummm ... you DO know that the first amendment is about more than free speech, don't you, Terri?

On and on it goes…  this thread eventually got to 140 replies and included several posters, most of which included insults from my "friend".  I have seen this woman do this over and over again with a variety of different people, usually men with strong opinions.  So why don't I unfriend her?  Because, I have also seen evidence that she's a good-hearted person deep down.

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of people who come off as blowhards, especially in a debate.  If you have to call someone stupid, an idiot, or make reference to their "lack of brain cells", that says a lot about how confident you must feel about your own arguments.  If you are certain your point of view is so correct, why would you need to name call?

Let's think about it for a minute.  What is the purpose of insulting someone by saying someone personal about their intelligence?  When you call a person an idiot, what are you really trying to do?  I think if you call someone an idiot, you are trying to belittle them as people.  You are saying that they aren't smart.  Why would you need to say that if you're so obviously right?  When you bring this up to name callers, they generally don't react well.  It's like you've just told them their slip is showing.

Telling someone that they "lack brain cells" and that you're "laughing at their attempts" to argue is a means of diminishing them.  Why would you need to do that to someone who isn't a threat?

Granted, we all engage in personal insults sometimes.  I have been known to name call… especially my husband's ex wife, whom I think deserves it.  I think originally, she scared me a bit because I had all these friends who were second or third wives and were put through hell by their husband's ex(es).  Later, I became much less afraid of her and what she might do when I realized that she's really just a very weak person who has to use children to fight her battles.  So then the name calling came from a serious lack of respect for her as a person, though perhaps if I were more objective, I might just feel kind of sorry for her and her kids.  Since her shit has personally affected my life, I have strong feelings of contempt toward her.  No matter how many people tell me I should "let it go" and stop holding a grudge, I can't.  However, I CAN say that as time as passed, I don't have nearly as much need to think about her or talk about her.  I probably don't need to name call anymore… but I continue to because it's fun and because she sees herself as a victim.  I might as well make her what she aspires to be, right?  Not saying it's right, though.

I name call Dr. Phil and Judge Judy, too.  But they are public figures who get name called all the time.  Both of them can handle it; though again, it's probably not the classiest way to behave.  I don't call them names out of fear per se, but more because I often find them offensive.  But if I were engaged in a debate with them, I probably wouldn't call them names… at least not to their faces.  ;-)  Judge Judy would start yelling at me and call me stupid.  Dr. Phil would look at me with disdain and say, "Oh come on!"  Hmmm… guess they kind of do it, too.


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