Friday, March 15, 2013
Senators Cruz and Feinstein have a Few Differences
When Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) frames his question to Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA-D) regarding how her bill stands with respect to the Constitution by attempting to explain the Constitution to her as if she is unfamiliar with it, I think she is right to feel condescended to. She has had a longer experience with government and specifically in that governing body than the senator from Texas has, as well as personal experience with the carnage done by gun violence.
She does not need to have things explained to her.
But I do agree in some respects with Steve M.--her response doesn't directly address his question, but his tone, and tone arguments just aren't universally effective. On "The Left", we can recognize what he was doing as a kind of mansplaining , but even calling something "mansplaining"--while useful as a way of discussing a concept among people who have already recognized that there are certain assumptions based on privilege, of inequality of education, knowledge, and understanding based on gender, ethnicity or what have you, that are often laughably wrong because they are assumptions--just looks like name-calling and makes no sense to people who don't accept that connection.
Further arguments that were later named--that we do accept limits on the First Amendment in the form of banning certain pornography, or recognize "yelling 'Fire!'" in a crowded movie movie theater as dangerous speech, I think better engaged the question and disproved his analogy.
I think Dianne Feinstein is genuine in her expression of her experience, but only missing part of the point that a lot of others might make--true, Cruz is kind of a jerk in the way he framed that. But whether it's from obliviousness or design, he can't be taken on by pointing out he's a jerk. What he needs is to be reminded that he isn't the only bright fellow in the place by people ready to speak the language he's using, or call him out on the points he's using, not his motivations for using him the way he is. Those are the terms he chose, after all. Might as well beat him on his own terms.
You can still think he's totally jerky, though.