Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cool yer jets, dude

I got yelled at by a friend Saturday night.

Now this normally wouldn’t bother me, and it didn’t really since I understand his passion for the issue that was at hand. But, and here’s the but, I see this one-way conversation – him yelling at me – as yet another example of how the growing rancor in our American discourse is leading us down a rocky and dangerous path.

After 10 or so minutes of agreeing again and again with him and still getting yelled at, I left. Friend or no, I refuse to be treated this way.

The topics, if you’re interested, were gay rights and gay marriage or, rather, my friend’s inability to get married due to anti-gay marriage laws where he’s living. As anyone who’s read the Foggy Dew for any length of time knows, in the mixed up gulyás of my personal beliefs, the right to marry anyone you damn well please is thrown in there with the right to keep and bear arms and the notion the other 535 elected members of our government should have term limits.

I believe the words, “South Africa allows gay marriage. In my opinion America’s a third world country when it comes to civil rights,” were yelled at me with spit flying. While I’m not going to go quite that far, I do feel people should be less concerned with what happens in their neighbors’ bedrooms and more worried about what happens in the schools and streets of their towns.

Yelling at me, no matter how shrilly, is not going to change my beliefs. Others, though, might tend to go in the opposite direction. And this is the problem we face.

Where political opponents once could sit down and civilly discuss the issues at odds between them, it seems that now in America, volume is king. If someone disagrees with you (or, it seems, even if they agree), just start shouting louder and louder until everyone’s message is drowned out.

Maybe you’ve heard about the crap going on around the country lately with screaming and chanting hoards assaulting their representatives and neighbors with their unintelligible din. And, for the record, this shit is coming from both sides of the health care debate.

Do these idiots really believe there are Nazis in our government? Seriously? Also, according to
Godwin’s Law, by invoking Nazis, they’ve already lost the argument. Anything they now say is worthless.

Health care is just one of the elephants in America’s living room (the others to be discussed at a later time). But the only thing all this wailing and gnashing of teeth is going to do is cause the elephants to stamped. And, when that happens, the problems are bound to crush us to a bloody pulp.

Isn’t it interesting how conservatives in the health care debate invoke the National Socialist German Workers Party against the liberals and, in the gay marriage debate, the liberals do the same to the conservatives? Strange, are we all Nazis? (Talk amongst yer’selves on this one.) Instead of yelling and calling each other Nazis, wouldn’t it be better if we all took a moment to listen?

If we don’t, the only thing that’s going to happen is we’re all going to go deaf.


Brando said...

First off, government should have as little to do with anything as feasible, whenever possible. Look at the mouth-breathers in Congress and just try to tell me they know what's best for anyone. So government shouldn't be regulating marriage, period. Maybe when our elected representatives stop violating their own marriage vows I might take them seriously for a minute.

As for Nazis, I think we need a moratorium on calling one another "Nazi". After 60-plus years, the term is just too antiquated. We might as well refer to the administration as "Napoleonic".

Shannon said...

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over my overwhelming sense of righteousness. COuld you repeat that?

FoggyDew said...

Brando - Good points all.

Shannon - Should I write louder? Perhaps in all caps?

Liebchen said...

"just start shouting louder and louder until everyone’s message is drowned out"

This drives me crazy. I have friends who argue like this and it turns an otherwise interesting debate into what sounds like a tantrum.

It's like arguing with a toddler.

lacochran said...

I understand that when people talk about values that are important to them, they get passionate.

Getting louder as an indicator of passion is perhaps especially understandable in a group that is feeling dismissed/invisible/voiceless.

I agree that it doesn't help when that person is arguing their point with someone who isn't arguing with them. When confronted with someone like that I will sometimes stop them long enough to say "I've agreed with you and you're still yelling. What response are you looking for from me?" Sometimes it's enough to wake them up. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes walking away is all you can do.

As for Godwin's Law, having been deprived of knowing my grandparents due to their deaths in the gas chambers, I'd be happy if no one ever used the term "Nazi" casually again.

FoggyDew said...

Liebchen - "Arguing with a toddler" I like it. So, so true. I have been accused, rightfully, of being a bit overbearing in past discussions. But I've never had to shout to make my point.

lacochran - Getting louder was also an indicator of inebriation. I also mentioned, several times, I agreed with him and that he was showering me with his passion. To no avail, so I walked.

restaurant refugee said...

I have long contended that the first person to yell in any argument tacitly concedes the weakness of their argument. I think this also applies when the other person agrees.