Why call names?

In lawyer speak, res ipsa loquitor means: it speaks for itself. In other words, the thing is obviously what it is.

Shakespeare put it this way: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” meaning that what you call something doesn’t matter as such does not alter what it is.

My parents gave me a name for identity purposes. I have the same name as my father, but I go by my middle name. My mother told me that it was best that I use my middle name so that dad and I would know exactly who she was yelling at.

The other day, a friend referred to me as a “Trumpie.” I took it as playful banter given that friends commonly call each other names, kind of like having a secret handshake. Still, it got me to thinking about the whole concept of name-calling.

There are certainly complimentary names such as “wonderful” or “generous” and the like. There isn’t near enough of that.

When it comes to politics, however, most commonly I hear demeaning and marginalizing names; names to suggest (or manipulate others into believing) that a candidate is simply lesser.

A research of Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement lists name-calling as the lowest form of argument. It becomes a substitute for rational or fact-based argument and is often used to instill fear. And so, why is there so much demeaning name-calling that purposely pushes emotional rather than intellectual buttons; and, by its nature, is destructive and divisive? Frankly, res ipsa loquitor.

Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as being “deplorable,” Joe Biden referred to them as “chumps.” In other words, a Trump supporter is simply lesser than a Trump hater.

Throughout the last four years I have heard the political elite use the following language when talking about Donald Trump: He’s a liar, a racist, a bully, treasonous, bribery, extortion, collusion, evil, a clown, war-monger, and so on and so on. Then, in the next breath, call him divisive.

The Supreme Court has held that certain actions are actually speech and entitled to first amendment protection. For example, burning our flag. I suppose that the taking of a knee during the national anthem would be considered as speech.

Among the most disgusting examples of this sort of thing that I have seen was Nancy Pelosi tearing up Trump’s State of the Union Address on national TV, which is the ultimate in name-calling behavior. She wasn’t even censured for her conduct.

Now, the name-calling elite say it is time for unity.  In other words, 75 million lesser Americans should now join hands with them and sing Kumbaya and forget that unity was never considered four years ago.

Murray Bright



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