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Prepare Your Response In Advance
[Warning: This post contains topics known to the State of California to be specific to the State of California and uninteresting to residents of other areas.]

I got a call this evening from someone calling around to encourage people to vote yes on Proposition 8.

"You're voting yes on Proposition 8?" I inquired, not at all sure I'd heard correctly.
"Yes," said the young woman on the phone.
"You want to prevent people who love each other from marrying?" I asked, just to be clear.
"Well, I've got kids, see, and I don't want them taught--"
"You are an ass," I hissed, and hung up the phone.

While someone who's phone banking for the damn thing probably isn't convincible, there were several more useful ways to end that conversation (or prolong it, preventing her from encouraging anyone), which did not occur to me through the blinding anger. I kinda don't think they'll be calling back here, but if you are similarly prone to outbursts of rage when people are being evil, a little advance warning may be useful. So there you are.

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maybe it's good we have no house phone and my cell is a nyc number...

NYC cell number will not help. If your voter registration contained your phone number, then the campaigns have it.

I worked the phone banks last week. I spend most of my time calling Colorado numbers. Once I got Pizza Hut, should have asked the location.

I don't know about the yes campaign. The no campaign has canned responses in the script that they claim have been focus grouped to death. The 'I have kids' might be very effective on undecided voters.

It's damned effective on me, I'll tell you. Just not the way they'd want it to be. Goes like this: "I just don't want my kids to think this is okay." = "I have no reason for hating you, I'm just a bigot. And I want my kids to be bigots too." and then I go all nuclear. It's causing harm to their own kids, which I don't like, and causing harm to my (hypothetical future) kids, which I don't like, and causing all kinds of harm to other people's children, and yeah, I want to protect the children. I want to protect them from the hateful people.

It's damned effective on me, I'll tell you. Just not the way they'd want it to be.

I fully agree with you. But I'm also betting that you will vote 'No' no mater what. The focus grouped reply doesn't need to work on you because nothing is going to work on you.

Evoking the kids line pulls at the heart strings (it certainly did with you) and makes the reaction emotional instead of logical. Once emotional it is easier to sway someone to your point of view.

My clever retort to this sort of thing -- not that I'm on the left coast -- starts with something like, "How on earth can you support such anti-family legislation? What have you got against the American family?"

We'll see if I make the wits roll required to remember this if it comes up.

That's a good one. Buzzwords, very important these days.

I think a lot about word magic. That one's an easy one, once you spot it.

I got the same call from the perky young woman. She called me from her house, so I have her name and caller ID? What should I do with them? :-)

She didn't seem any less perky after I told her it was unlikely I was going to do anything to help her cause.

Send an extremely brave newlywed to make it really personal? Or a small child, who would really rather not have his or her parents' marriage annulled.

Damned hard on the sacrificial objects of empathy, though.

I actually saw a car somewhere in the general region of Los Altos with a "YES ON 8" bumper sticker. Took me aback - that was the first "offline" sign of support for the measure I'd seen.

I did something similar when a precinct poller came to my door one Saturday morning. I had just woken up half an hour before. I was not dressed for the day. I hadn't had breakfast yet and had just taken my Strattera. First-phase withdrawal from Strattera makes me cranky, and I hit that early phase if I miss the pill by more than three hours. I had.

This smarmy man's voice got to "definition of marriage," and I blew. "I am bisexual. Many of my friends are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Get the hell away from my door." He thanked me kindly if a bit quickly and left.

We're not all brilliant with the repartee when we're being presented cold with obvious hatred.

Life would be so much simpler if we could just challenge people to duels.

Could be worse. One of my sisters is the kind of woman who might volunteer to make those calls. And for the record, if my sister ever calls you about such a thing (which is unlikely since she doesn't live in CA), you totally have my permission to get mad at her about it.


That dialogue made me LOL.

I agree that having something eloquent and well-thought-out in advance to retort with would have been great... but you succeed in succinct analysis here. :)
I wonder where they get the numbers? I'd love if they called here. "So I can't vote, but let me tie you up on the phone discussing this for the next hour..." I'll have to remember the anti-family line - that's perfect.

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