Earlier today, as I was reading for class, I answered a phone call from a telemarketer. Normally, I check my caller ID before picking up the phone, but, this time, failed to consider the 866-area code. As soon as I realized she was a telemarketer, I tried to end the conversation politely, telling her that I did not have an account at her bank.
Despite my statement and my expressed intent to end the conversation, she continued to read from the script. She mentioned something about needing my approval to send me something. At this point, I told her I needed to go, but she kept reading about this amazing offer. I realized it was impossible to be polite, so finally just hung up.
She didn’t even listen to me, just kept reading from the script.
We see the same thing frequently in our political discourse. Someone will raise an objection to the argument of an ideological adversary, but he won’t address the objection, merely continue on as if the person had said nothing — or assume the objector had said what he (the adversary) had wanted him to say in order to make the point of his
script talking points.
I mean, just look how Democrats reacted to the president’s new strategy for Iraq. He appoints a new commanding officer (against whose confirmation not a single Democrat voted) and outlines a new plan for dealing with the violence in Baghdad. And they respond with the same criticism they had been offering for some time — it’s nothing new.
Some of our critics too reply to our points, not as we expressed them, but as they wish we had expressed them. As, from time to time, so do some of our defenders.
Instead of responding like a telemarketer with a set script, let’s respond to each other by listening to our adversaries’ points. But, I’ve said this before. I guess we’ll just have to accept that some people are just like telemarketers, not interested in the person with whom they are communicating, but content to try to push their product to a generic human being.