Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Phone Call from the NRA


Everybody is following a script of one sort or another. This leads me to why I do not simply hang up on telemarketers.

For one thing, they are human beings. If they are particularly obnoxious, call me at an inconsiderate hour, or really mangle my name, I might allow myself a little mischievous fun at their employer's expense. If I am really not in the mood, I will at the very least say, "Not a good time" or "No thanks" before putting the telephone down. They might not be regarding me as a person, but I do them.

Having established that there is a fellow human being on the other end of that call, there is another reason to consider interacting with them. Interesting conversations can take place when you knock someone off their script.

So I got a call tonight from someone at the NRA. Friendly sounding guy, probably my age, a southern accent I could not place specifically. We exchanged hellos and he got right to the matter.

"We're taking a little survey if you have a minute, see what you think about the United Nations trying to take away all our guns."

"The United Nations is not trying to take away our guns," I said. "And they couldn't do that even if they wanted to. It's an old lie."

"Well, from what I'm hearing, there's a treaty that Hillary Clinton supports that is trying to regulate all our guns."

"Okay, what's the name of the draft treaty?"

"Um."

"Have you read the draft? What are the restrictions? Is it regulating arms trade between countries or restricting ownership rights or mandating certain procedures for registering or what? What does the treaty say?"

"Er, well. I'm not too sure about that."

"Do you know that even if there were a treaty, the United States Senate would have to ratify it with a 2/3 majority. Do you think 2/3 of the Senate would ratify an international treaty that conflicted with our 2nd Amendment rights?"

"Oh really?"

"And the Supreme Court put the kibosh on something like that with a ruling, oh, a few years ago."

[NOTE: it was in 2008. I was referring to District of Columbia vs. Heller, which states that any new policy trying to ban gun ownership absolutely is off the table. The notion that the court would allow an international organization to do it is just silly.]

"Really?"

"Really. Anyway, this is all just made up. It was going around the internet in 2009. It's bunk."

"Well, I don't really keep up with this stuff myself, I'm just goin' on what they tell me."

"Dude, let me level with you. I own a gun. I assume you own a gun, too. The reason I'm not involved with the NRA is that the organization tells lies. You don't have to respond to that, I know you're working for them or volunteering or whatever. But they tell outright lies in order to scare folks like you and me and get us to donate money."

"I got a recording from our president, Wayne LaPierre, I can play for you about what the United Nations is doing."

"I'll pass. Dude, go home tonight and look this up on your internet. Don't just believe what the NRA tells you and don't even believe what I tell you. Check the facts and be your own man."

"Hey thanks for the talk."

"Happy New Year to you. Check it out!"

"I'm gonna. I'm gonna. Thanks."

---------------------

He might, he might not. It is now out of my hands. If this accomplished any small thing, it was calling a man's attention to his script. That's our human job. We all tend to follow one script or another that can be reduced to the basic script of "I vs. Everything-else."

Sometimes in a spontaneous interaction you can throw a light on the script itself and tear at it just enough that a person can choose to look into the matter. This applies to the political delusion we live under; and the great personal delusion as well.





[Photo: Me with a gun, in a scene from the 2011 release Last Days]

4 comments:

Nathan said...

Ah, finally all of that obsessive political research pays off. :) Seriously though, I laughed out loud at this! Way funny. And one of the best things about breaking through the script is that you actually can make the connections between us all apparent. Instead of joining the club being offered, or waring against that club, you just shed the club all together.

Kelly said...

I try to always be polite to "phone" people. However, I'm not much into talking on the phone with people I do know, much less strangers, so I rarely try to continue the conversation.

You've obviously had some interesting conversations, though, based on this and a few others I can think of you've shared in the past. (still love the whole "are you conservative or liberal" things you posted not long ago)

quid said...

Throwing light on something. What a concept!

In this madly obsessed world, where we run with an internet rumor, something that SEEMS plausible, without really thinking or researching.... sigh. This little vignette is a perfect example of how people just skim the surface in determining what to believe.

Hal Johnson said...

I'm a gun owner, but I've never joined the NRA. That organization seems too much a part of the neocon "it's okay to lie when you're on the right side" mindset.