When Bush became an embarrassment even to Republicans, I prayed they would abandon not just the man but his bag of rhetorical tricks for dismissing all challengers and inconvenient truths.
My prayers weren’t answered. That bag of rhetorical tricks is just so irresistible, and not just to Republicans. In a pinch, any of us reach into it. The tricks are generic, good for deflecting any challenge and defending any belief whether it’s political, spiritual or personal.
In the bag you’ll find a wounded, “Hey, that’s not nice” that turns you into the high-minded moral referee and turns attention away from the challenger’s message to how it was delivered.
You can say a concerned, “My! What’s gotten into you?” becoming the caregiving social worker concerned about your challenger’s mental state.
You can say a haughty “You’re not seeing the whole picture” becoming the deity who does, privy to the highest truths that render your challenger’s truth inconsequential.
You can say a skeptical, “Now, I wouldn’t be so certain” becoming the esteemed scientist too rigorous to fall for anything less certain than your own absolute truth.