I'll say one thing for the SEIU. It is consistent in its ability to be inappropriate to the situation and to resort to personal disparagement when it fails to persuade.
The setting: An annual Christmas party at which a group of us former members of the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Festival Chorus get together with other friends and relatives to eat, drink, and sing Christmas carols.
A man introduces himself as a neighbor who works for the SEIU. We start with a little repartee about Blue Mass Group, where he notes that I was taking some hits for recent comments. I say how I love BMG as a democratic place where anybody can participate. He looks at me oddly.
He then sidles into the topic of, "When are you going to let your employees form a union?" I respond with, "When are you going to let them have elections with debates?" And the race to the bottom is on. Pretty quickly, I say, "Look, I'm here for a party with friends, not to discuss this stuff."
He says, "I think you're a hypocrite."
Let's see. We have known each other for about 90 seconds. We have quickly figured out that we are not going to persuade each other on the merits of the issue. So he resorts to a character slur.
I'll admit that my response at that point consisted of a rude, physically impossible, autoerotic suggestion. (I then apologized to my host for swearing at one of his guests.)
The rest of the evening was entirely pleasant, with lots of joyful singing. This fellow didn't join in.