How long have we been concerned about the dire effects of bullying in schools? It can leave psychological scars that last for life and those who are bullied may feel its effects in their adult relationships, career aspirations, family group and social situations. It is a blight caused by extreme callousness and abject cruelty directed at the timid or different by those who are fighting their own insecurities.
Experts have come forth offering their own solutions, websites have been set up, schools have started anti-bullying programs and yet the bullying goes on. It’s a virus for which we still haven’t found the vaccine and we have to wonder where we’re missing the mark and why all of these efforts have been so seemingly fruitless.
The sum total of all the efforts, whether truly worth their salt in terms of results or futile, are now moot because the genie is out of the bottle. Bullying works, it’s cheered and has been seen as an effective, acceptable way to gain your desired goals. Chief-bully is none other than Donald Trump, the man soon to assume the most dangerous, powerful and important leadership role in the world as President of the United States.
Bullies are seen as powerful, formidable and, now, leaders and captains of industry. Rules don’t apply to these bullies because they’re famous and that gives them the right to do as they please.
They are, therefore, role models for young and old bullies who have waited to hear the clarion call of a sullied leader who wanted people “taken out on stretchers.” No one needs an advanced degree, or a degree at all, to read what that indicates loud and clear; bullies rule.
Of course, bullies get all the good things, don’t they? Well, some might see it that way, but most of us think of them as boils on the flesh of decent society. None of us wants our kids to be bullied or to become bullies as a means to end their own relentless pain.
For some of the tortured, the bullying ends on a barbed-wire fence like Matthew Shephard who was tortured and murdered because he was gay and his bullies thought killing him was the punishment called for. They became judge, jury and executioners. Wonder where they got that idea. I don’t think we have to look far.
Politics is a nasty game it’s been said, but the recent turn in a political season unmatched in its ugliness and overall crassness is being seen as unique. Listen to the pundits and they’ll tell you that no historian has found any political race to match 2016 in how low it went in personal attacks and urging violence to win votes.
The appeal, of course, was directly out of reality TV where participants are coached on coarseness and given prompts regarding body language and wording as well as egged on to all manner of violence. I suppose it’s the updated version of all those fixed wrestling matches pushed out on TV over the years. The more blood and damage, the more the crowd roared. Was this the 20th Century or ancient Rome and the Coliseum? Bread and circus still rule.
In one week, we’ve seen black churches burned, swastikas on sidewalks in Jewish neighborhoods, intimidation at voting sites and on college campuses of Muslim students, children being told they are going to be deported and paranoid bigots becoming government officials. Even a teacher in California told her Latino students they were going to be deported. A student in California handed out “deportation notices” to Latino students. The teacher was fired. Wonder what happened to the student.
The sum total of it all of this is head spinning as liars become leaders and “spin” is the order of the day. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, just say it and it will be believed. The near-death of long-form journalism may have contributed to this sorry state of affairs. And, while we’re on affairs, do a bit of research on the internet and you’ll find that adulterers are also moving into high government spots. But they’re all good religious men, I’m sure.
Aren’t we the “land of the free” and “home of the brave?” What’s brave about the actions I just noted? How free are we if we frighten children and families and the result is a sudden wave of calls to suicide hotlines?
Where is the bravery in bullying? What honor is there in lying? Has honor become one of those old-fashioned ideas that went out with the advent of the digital age? Are we living “The Day of the Locust?”