Sunday, January 8, 2012

I got violently yelled at today by a Scott Walker supporter (by anon)

I canvassed today for Scott Walker recall signatures.  I hit about 100 homes.  Many were not home, and of those who were home some signed, some had already signed, and some refused.  Overwhelmingly, people were polite, even those who had Scott Walker lawn signs front-and-center in their yards.  Yes, I knocked on those doors too.
However, there was this one white guy.  He was polite at first as his ~4 year old daughter hung on his leg.  He refused to sign and told me that he really appreciated what Walker has been doing.  He said that it was about time someone was correcting the problems here.  I thanked him for his time and made that I was going to leave.  He then engaged.  He asked why I felt Walker deserved to be recalled.  I responded that my primary concern was his severe cuts to education funds, that we need to invest in our children’s education rather than diminish it.  I motioned to his daughter and said that we need to make sure our children grow up to think well.
He then embarked on a monologue about how bad teacher’s unions are.  Interrupting him after many minutes of listening patiently, I acknowledged that there can be drawbacks to unions, but that my primary concern again is with the severe cuts Walker is making to public education.   These are unnecessary cuts given the relative stability of our state budget, the cuts will hurt the quality of our education across the board, the cuts will affect who will get a college education as tuition rates have to rise, and there is no reason why Walker has to go after education specifically on a continual basis (shouldn’t everyone share the pain [even though this is an unnecessary pain]?).
So, yeah, he didn’t like that much.  Starting to get redder in the face, he said that I was simply wrong.  To paraphrase, though I think it is a direct quote, “Wrong, wrong, wrong!  That’s what you are.  You don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Still keeping my patient face, I acknowledged that he doesn’t have to agree with me.  And then I said that part of the reason why I don’t like Walker aside from the education stuff is that he has made the political climate in Wisconsin divisive.  I asked him if he thought saying that I was wrong the way he said it was a good way to help our conversation.  I noted that that just puts the other person on the defensive and that communication will usually break down.  He sort of acknowledged that, but followed up with, “But that’s what you are.  Wrong!”
Sorry for the play-by-play, but here is where it escalated.  He then wanted to talk about the union stuff again, to which I replied politely that I really should be going and that I will neither convince him to change his mind nor will he change mine.  Then in front of his daughter who was still lurking he nodded and yelled,
Him: Get off my porch!  Get the fuck off my porch!
Me: What? (in disbelief)
Him: You heard me!  Get the fuck off my porch!  Get the fuck off my property!
Me: Are you serious?  Do you realize how rude you are being?
I left.  I had been trying to leave the past 7 min of the 7.5 min I had been there.  Everything in me wanted to yell back at him and say that it is people like him that are bringing down America (regardless of political affiliation!).  But I played my role of polite canvasser.  I got a little satisfaction when I got two signatures from the house next to his.
Here’s my argument: if you want to converse with someone in hopes of persuading the person to your position or at least getting the person to be sympathetic to your position, there are certain unspoken rules to abide by.  Be polite.  Be respectful.  Do not yell.  This guy violated these rules by a wide margin.  Thus, he neither persuaded me nor did he get me to be even slightly sympathetic to his view.  While his intention may never have been to persuade me (he might have just wanted to piss me off from the start – that’s my guess), he only succeeded in entrenching me further in my beliefs, which only hurts his overall project.
The moral: you don’t gain anything by being an asshole in argumentation.  You will always come off as the loser.  Learn to argue effectively and responsibly.


  1. Wow, how rude!

    I admit that I'm also a Walker supporter, but I would never be rude to someone who believed different. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm glad that in that situation you remained calm and professional.

    It really is sad that someone would behave like that, and you are absolutely right: these are the kind of people that give America and politics (among many other things) a bad name.

  2. I love Scott Walker you probably deserved it. Scott Walker is really efficient and you are trying to ruin all of the progress he has made. Now, get the fuck off my critically pissed blog. GET THE FUCK OUT NOW!!!!

  3. Yeah, that last comment was productive. Your Critically Pissed blog? You need to widen your sense of ownership on that buddy.

  4. People will simply block themselves off from any and all opposition to their holy doctrine when their opinion has already been driven into the ground by outside influences.

    Imagine you had overwhelming evidence disproving the existence of god, and you were trying to convince the pope that he didn't exist. The answer is simple: you couldn't.

    I believe it's because people are inherently afraid of change, and these opinions they've developed over their entire lifetimes have been ingrained so deeply into their psyche that they simply will not accept any notion of them being wrong. I believe the man you talked to that day was one of those people.

    Always remain skeptical to a healthy degree, and don't allow yourself to become too accustomed towards a world of political absolutes (i.e. Scott Walker is the devil/the messiah) and remember that your own opinion on the world is not fuckin sacred.

  5. I actually thought I had a psychic connection with a girl and heard her voice all the time, but it turned out to be the voice of a ghost!

    Just comes to show ya, gotta keep an open mind...

  6. You hit the houses with pro Scott walker signs in there yard? Why? Sounds like you were looking for a fight. You may have been polite but, you can be a polite dick looking for a verbal brawl. Including the guys kid too... Yeah, you found exactly what you were looking for.

  7. The house where the guy yelled at me did not have Walker signs posted. I never looked for a fight. Just because someone puts a Walker sign in their yard does not mean that everyone in the house believes the same.

  8. So your feelings got hurt. Don't sweat it dude. This relatively minor action did not require a blog submission, just roll with it. My girl was irate and yelled at me last week when she spied me looking rather intently at her friend's lovely ass.

  9. You talk about rationality. You wanna know what's not rational? Spending millions of the taxpayers' money on a recall election. Especially when nothing will happen. Those that voted for Walker are going to vote to keep him in office. He's doing exactly what he planned on doing, and it is for our state's benefit. Quit being selfish recallers.

  10. Rationally speaking, Scott Walker should be in love with this recall stuff! There is tons of money being spent on this recall and there will be tons of money spent on the recall election. What more could Walker want?! This is bringing scads of money into Wisconsin. This is business at its best. The recalls fit right into Walker's campaign promises. The amount of taxpayer money needed for the election is going to be miniscule compared to all the other money it will generate.

    Chew on that.

  11. Its always amusing how many Scott Walker supporters yell things such as "wrong, wrong, wrong," or began to get mad and cuss. I have witnessed this several times.Forbid they mutter a word more that one syllable. It goes well with the GOP's anti-intellectualism or anti-discussion of anything that doesn't fit into their world views.And calling recallers selfish shows how out of touch many Walker supporters are. When a movement becomes this massive, something is obviously wrong. How many unsuccessful recall attempts were made on Gov. Doyle that didn't even generate a drop of rain in a mud puddle.It is even written in the constitution that if the government becomes destructive it is up to the people to stand up and get the bums out of office. I am at a loss at how arrogant many of you Walker supporters are to believe that this is about poor sportsmanship or some kind of conspiratorial fraud created by the Democrats. The GOP is out of control and they have to be stopped. Walker did not campaign on removing collective bargaining because he knew it wouldn't fly with many people. He got in, then back doored us like the sneaky little Koch sucker he is. He refuses to raise any taxes under any circumstances, which is unrealistic and not really any kind of political stance.We wouldn't want the elite who use more land, create more pollution and get away with more shit to have to break their piggy bank. OF course when it comes to his own fundraising he can break the bank yet, he gave back money we received for light rail to the feds so it could go to another state even though we had already started on it. We have to pay that money back too and get absolutely nothing for it. That makes sense. And why wouldn't he cut education? He couldn't even finish college, yet he somehow thinks he has all the answers to balance the budget. Take from the working class and tax breaks for the rich. Oh, and how do you justify giving tax breaks to billionaire corporations who don't even hire American workers? Much less Wisconsin workers. Yes, this justifies in booting his candy ass out of office. That's democracy in action. We get the signatures, we get our recall election. Period. Chew on that.