Bullies and the further adventures of my bleeding heart friend missing the point.
In response to the column on bullying this week, on all but one point I agree. Making a law against bullying would be akin to making a law against bad breath. Both bullying and bad breath are accepted as undesirable, even by the people who exhibit such faults. Natural law has already singled out bullying as an unacceptable means of behavior of an individual in a community. Laws exist to identify boundaries where they are ill defined. Bullying is not ill defined. Bullying is when an individual holds another in such contempt that abusing them becomes a means of entertainment or thoughtless advancement of a personal agenda.
Where my lovingly liberal friend again veers too far to the left (like my ’87 Honda Accord used to before I discovered a slightly bent frame) is when he identifies the tea party movement as bullies. There is no doubt, Gordon sees the world as tilted toward eight o’clock so here in the radical center, we just see some issues differently. I can say that we remain friends because we are both committed to the same outcome (love your neighbor would sum it up I think), so it’s just method we don’t agree on. In this case, however, my friend is just plain wrong.
In brotherly love, I must call out my friend. I simply can not allow him to remain so woefully uninformed, and in public, in black and white newsprint no less.
What is bullying? We must make sure that we are discussing the same concept. An attempt to demonstrate real or perceived power through actions directed toward another who lacks real or perceived power. This is most often associated with perceived physical power, as in the case of the middle school bruiser. Bullying is also exemplified in those who hold real power, either physical or hierarchical, exemplified by the micromanaging boss or gang thug. Bullying is overt demonstration of power on someone who is not in a position to resist. The bully makes a show of power because he or she can.
The question remains, why would anyone with power behave in this manner? Why would they feel the need to make such a demonstration.? Why would someone in power or with power need to use someone powerless as a living visual prompt? Some ascertain that the seeds of bullying lies in insecurity. The bully is trying to convince themselves of power. The victim is but a prop. While that certainly could be the case, I don’t believe that to always be true.
The underlying root of bullying is contempt. Holding other people in such little regard that they cease to matter as another human. Other people exist as but a means to the bullies personal gain. Another person’s value, to the bully, is in what they can do for them. In the case of the overbearing boss, the sense of mistrust is palpable. The bully boss, either implicitly or explicitly states that no one in the company is as capable as him, so everyone needs to just keep their ideas to themselves and do what they are told. This attitude betrays a poisonous contempt for the people around.
Now, does this sound like the tea party movement? Actually this idea sounds a lot more like our condescending, and dismissive Democratic leadership in Congress and our “always the smartest guy in any room” President. Now let me be clear (so all you idiots will understand…says Obama), our previous Republican congress and President also fit neatly under that dictionary entry.
The tea party’s ringing bell message has been and remains that government has stopped listening to the people. Like mad King George and his taxes, our government siphons money from regular folks to fund their own quest for, and expansion of power.
Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are classic bullies. In Bob Woodward’s new book on Obama, the famed Watergate reporter states that “President Obama clearly believes that he is always the smartest person in the room…any room.” Another bullying moment from a Democrat was California Senator Barbara Boxer’s dressing down of a 4-star Army general for calling her “ma’am” with “you can call me Senator.” The elitists now in control of our national government are most contemptuous toward main street Americans when they explain the overwhelming rejection of their agenda as a problem of messaging. Bill Maher and his constant belittling of Christians as “mentally deranged”, and Vice-President Biden’s assertion that the White House policies were unpopular because they were too complex for most people to understand are but two of innumerable examples of the bullies on the left. I won’t even start on the bullies in the media. The motto of today’s Democrat Party should be, “If you were smarter, you would love us.”
No, my neo-Marxist friend, it’s actually a very clear understanding of the policies forced upon the country (for our own good…I’m sure) by Mr. Obama and congress, that have led the majority of Americans to reject them.
To be sure, there are bullies leaning toward five o’clock too. Beyond the obvious names like Michael Savage, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, who employ the same contemptuous tone, there are the bloggers and talk radio lightweights who sing their Ode to Ronald Reagan in the key of loud. Conservatives get stuck on the idea that democracy works for us so therefore it must work for everyone else, reminiscent of the crusades. Pursuit of profit to the point of exploitation, and a foreign policy that seems to start with, “all the rest of you need to learn to speak English” smack of a bullying attitude as well, but remember, a bully must have power.
In 1994, in response to the over reaching of the Clinton administration and a sense of disenfranchisement (remember Clinton was elected in 1992 with less than 40% of Americans voting for him), Republicans were swept into office riding the pages of the Contract with America. Reagan’s political progeny declared that our nation would get, line item vetoes, term limits and balanced budgets. The death of “politics as usual” was touted from AM radios everywhere.
The dot.com bubble came and our “conservative” congress celebrated with new entitlement programs, a war in Iraq (Afghanistan and 9/11 I get), no changes to ailing programs like Social Security and Medicare, and even a new prescription benefit to speed up the national bankruptcy. In simplest terms, there were no real changes in how things are done.
Therefore, the country gave up the dream and inexplicably elected Democrats hoping they would be more fiscally responsible. (laugh track…actually a poll in ’06 said that 56% of Americans believed that Democrats were more likely to lower taxes…louder laugh track) The big comeback was 2006 and the “I’m not Bush” primary election led directly to the mythical 2008, Barack Obama election. (I still contend that America elected a man that does not exist. Most people were simply voting for the vague idea of Hope and Change. Without realizing that the change he was talking about was mind-boggling spending programs and European style socialism…how’s that working out in Paris these days? No more retiring at 29!)
With each swing further left and then further back right we experience the centrifugal nature of our two-party system. Centrifugal means, from the Latin, “to flee from the center.” Who are the people in the center? A simple distribution would tell you that the center would include the overwhelming majority of citizens in any voting district. Ours is supposedly a representative democracy. Who remains to represent those people in the center? As I have stated in many a retort of a Meriwether position, the answer to that question is clearly no one.
So tell me now my friend. When you hear the shouting voices of the tea party, are you hearing a bully? Or are you hearing the bully’s victims finally standing up and saying. WE HAVE TAKEN ALL THAT WE ARE GOING TO TAKE!
The Republicans are the party of NO. The Democrats are the party of YES, oh wait, what was the question? While the tea party is the party of ENOUGH!
In summary, Gordon sees the tea party and Fox
News as bullies because they stand in opposition to people that hold a
different view than he does. While my
conservative friend David, sees MSNBC and Joy Behar as bullies when they
disparage views that he holds. The tea
party, in its purest sense (without being co-opted by opportunistic Republicans
trying to ride the wave back into bullydom) is as inclusive a political
movement as there has been in the US since the American Revolution. The message is not complicated. Our forefathers did not defy, depart and
defeat the British crown only to establish another system of government that holds
them in contempt. This country was of,
by and for WE, the people. Remember what happened to those bullies? The tea party isn’t over November 2.
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