Taking the bait is a national pastime these days. The press does it all the time with our new president. People do it in their personal lives, too.
I’m not sure if it’s because people have lost their sense of humor. Or whether their skins have thinned with age. Or if they’re simply that unaware. Regardless of the reasons, it makes for some stupid discourse and losing positions.
There is much about President Trump I dislike, but I marvel at his ability to throw people off track. He shouldn’t be as successful at this as he is, but he is. It’s because he’s savvy enough to know how easy it can be to get others to take the bait. And take the bait they do. It inures to Mr. Trump’s benefit, over and over again. Some people can’t restrain themselves: they always take the bait.
One thing I’ve learned, Vera, is once you take the bait, you’ve lost. You’ve allowed your intellectual adversary to throw you off. You’ve taken the head fake. You have little to no chance of winning the argument, or keeping the focus on what it should be on. You have ceded the narrative to the other side.
So don’t be so easy. Recognize tactics for what they are. Recognize the difference between head fakes and real moves. Have the personal discipline not to take the bait.
It isn’t that hard. Primarily, it merely takes some intellectual discipline — the discipline to stay on track and not be easily diverted. And to remain focused on the important stuff and not take someone’s spurious claims seriously. And to be sufficiently aware of the other person’s true motives and tactics.
In short, it takes focus. And discipline. And awareness.
So don’t be lazy, Vera. Stay focused and disciplined.
Don’t take the bait.