I read articles written by conservatives, liberals, and leftists, many of which now regularly resort to juvenile insults. Name-calling masquerading as erudition.
Words like moron, maggot, idiot, their softer equivalents goon, clown, jerk, twit, the all-purpose hater, or the latest nasty epithet du jour are now the common parlance of pundits, politicians…and people on social media. Some even use vulgarities.
Former President Trump is a leading if not the lead example of this, but he’s not alone. Playground rhetoric has been used by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, and many more politicians. It’s like there’s an arms race to see who can come up with the lowest, most childish nickname or rejoinder.
But what good is this kind of cheap shot? Calling someone with a different point of view a derogatory name doesn’t win the argument? It doesn’t encourage people to change their mind. Indeed, it can harden opposition. It only demeans, the speaker more than the recipient.
Name-calling has tainted US politics since before there was a USA. But insults accomplished nothing back then, and they accomplish nothing now. They only divide, which is the enemy of consensus and achievement.
We can’t make others change, but we can raise the level of our own discourse. We can have a sense of self-respect that intentionally improves the caliber of our vocabulary and incisiveness of our critical thinking. We can never use juvenile name-calling again, which is what most of our Mothers told us in 1st Grade anyway.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021
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