“Nancy Pelosi is a stupid bitch who lies and doesn’t give a damn about anything except her own political agenda” – ([nameless family member of mine], text message, Sept. 16, 2020, last Wednesday afternoon).
(Did I cite my source correctly?)
Here is some context for that conversation:
Two days previously, the same family member texted these words:
“The only side that has done anything in the past couple of years that is completely partisan is the left”
To this, I responded:
“Spoken exactly like a partisan from the right”
Nine minutes later, from the same person, came this response:
“Spoken like an idiot from the left that won’t do full research”
In this conversation, I am the “idiot.” Just yesterday, I offered a post I called “Echo Chambers” in which I described at least PART of the dynamic happening in this conversation. One from my own family, someone who I love and respect – who loves and respects me – felt compelled to interact with me in this way on subject matters involving current national politics.
We have since discussed these matters again in a much more civilized manner via audio, telephone conversation in which the notion of “echo chambers” seemed to help the rhetoric simmer down a bit and facilitate more agreement. (Not total agreement, by any means, but certainly more agreeableness.)
In this post, I want to talk a bit more about “research” in particular. The “idiot” part still plays a role in my thinking here, but I need to marginalize it briefly. Keep that thought on standby, but don’t let it get control of the conversation. (No. I don’t like being referred to as an idiot, but I am mature enough to set it aside for a moment)
The term is rather broad, actually. The way it is deployed in the political bickering above, seems common to me. I have heard it tossed around in that way before. In fact more than a few times. “Do your research…. ”
Well, “research” might be a hifalutin enterprise or it might be a college Freshman 3-page paper citing three dependable sources. We have PhD scientists in labs and on space craft conducting experimental research fighting cancer, heart disease, and developing drugs or weapons and all kinds of cutting edge stuff. The word we use for that kind of thing is “research.” The college Freshman writing a three-page paper is doing “research” too.
Perhaps we might call the one “research” and the other “advanced research,” and still keep the language somewhat generic. But then again, I might go on line and look for that bread maker my wife wants for Christmas and “research” which one has the best features, the best warrantee, and the most reasonable price. I might even try to determine if the thing is made in a slave-labor country and who endorses it and who criticizes it. That also might be considered “research.”
Then there is the matter of which expert do we believe. Go to trial with a murder case and bring in expert testimony from PhD types in the field who give their very well researched opinions on the evidence in the case, but they still don’t agree.
Did I say “research” is a rather broad term?
(I think I did.)
So in the end, “research” is important. Those who refuse, or fail, to do it, thus do themselves a disservice. But what exactly do you mean by the term? And anyway, only an idiot would think that mere research will make everyone come to the same conclusions.
But in the rhetorical way it was used in the argument above, it suggests “research” is the salvation of our mutual understanding and benefit. That smart people do it, and “idiots” don’t, and that those who do this “research” know better, should speak up and be listened to, whereas those deemed not to have done the “research” have opinions that don’t matter and should not be heeded.
But what if “Do your research, idiot!” is nothing more than the smoke -n- mirrors bluff of a blow hard idiot looking for the Achilles heel in a more thoughtful person’s self-confidence? (I note that the rhetoric of the conversation above seems to project the insult off of the one saying it on to me as a mirror image. He is trying to confuse who the idiot is and make it stick to me instead of him.) We could have just had a respectful discussion, even if we disagreed, but with the “bitch” and “idiot” insults, everything got ratcheted up into a more hostile gear.
(At least it’s more interesting this way!)
And that is the way we discuss politics in my family among people who love and respect each other.
How about you and yours?
Feel like you have been heard?
Feel like your vote matters?
What is the prize if you win?
Funny thing, this family member ironically accused me of insulting him. He feels I slighted him, disrespected him, marginalized him.
I don’t deny for a minute that he feels that way.
But I am mindful that he put words in my mouth, called me (in a round about way) an “idiot,” used totalizing language for matters which in reality are full of contingencies, and in all of that, any messages I sent to him passed through terrible echo chambers. And I can’t help but think, if that is true for us (family who love each other) how much more true is this for vast groups and classes of people? What does this kind of spirit do to a nation of people who are largely anonymous to one another?
Well, it looks to me like something worth a little research.
*Just to be thorough, I looked up “research” in the online dictionary, copied, and pasted it here:
I don’t vote. Also, I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi. I think she really did a disservice and set a bad example as a leader when recently she was spotted getting her hair done against COVID protocols. She could have been more honest and sacrificial and just let her hair go gray. Not as flattering, but would have showed true character as well as true color. But then I also find fault with President Trump, our nation’s Insulter -n- Chief. I won’t defend Pelosi against the charge of lying, but I won’t take seriously anyone who thinks she has a problem with it but who fails to acknowledge Trump does also – a far worse problem with it in my opinion. He is flat out blatant about it and does not care. And the only people, it seems, holding him accountable for it are people like Nancy Pelosi!
Can you say “system failure”?
But in the end, I think secular government has its limitations which it cannot recognize and makes liars, cheats, and two-faced bullies out of the people who put their hands on the mantle of its power. “Pull out of here, my people!” as St. John would say, “she is a whore!” I agree. And I turn for Salvation to Jesus our Lord… who… at the sound of his name, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus is LORD – including Caesar’s knees and tongue, Donald Trump’s knees and tongue, and Nancy Pelosi’s knees and tongue.
You, my fellow Americans, can either volunteer your knees and tongue humbly now, or you can have them bent and forced at the great coming Judgment.