Thursday, October 2, 2008

Diagnosis Just In: I'm Bully Intolerant

I was once told that I would "see in my fellow beings that which is beautiful and pure". That I would "not look upon the faults of mankind", but be "compassionate especially unto the poor and the needy, and those who suffer afflictions". I have to tell you this is something that pulls at my heart each day. I get so fired up by the countless injustices I see in this world...literally, it eats at me. I have this innate drive to fight for the little guy, to cheer for the underdog. Unfortunately, with that drive comes a true disdain for the bullies of this world. Because you see, I really believe that many of the earth's problems could be boiled right down to one word...bully.

Bullies really bug me. You can find them anywhere you go. They come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and colors...tall, short, fat, skinny, rich, poor, Christian, Atheist, on a playground or in a nursing home. They are the people who see a "Lane Ends, Merge Right" sign and instead of politely merging, they speed ahead and nose their way into the line as you sit and wait your turn....NO, I do not even consider letting them nose in front of me! Bullies belittle, demean, and browbeat. They use intimidation and condescension to make themselves known. They are hungry for power/recognition and will attempt to devour anyone who is different or stands in their way.

Due to recent events, politics has pushed bullying to the forefront of my mind. Just to prove you can not escape the Couric/Palin fiasco, I have a few words to write about that. Would I like to know more about where Sarah Palin stands on important issues, you bet! Would I like to see her more comfortably/articulately answering tough questions, you bet! But, I do NOT want to see anyone bullied. There is a tremendous difference between interviewing and browbeating, huge differences in straightforward, direct tactics and condescending ridicule coming in through the backdoor.

And how about "the ladies of The View"? I have tried, desperately I might add, to tune out that show. But, I just can't. It amazes me every time I see it...and not in a good way. Often I find my mouth is just hanging agape. It is completely and utterly irrelevant to me where you stand on the issues; however, could you please just tell me that you find the spankings Elisabeth Hasselbeck endures each day somewhat disturbing? Do you see her being ridiculed for her beliefs...even if you disagree? If not, then you like many others in our society have fallen victim to a little something I call Bully Tolerance. I for one am Bully Intolerant!

When someone tells me they do not believe in God, or that they support partial birth abortion, or that the soldiers in Iraq are "just wasting our money and their own time", I don't get all emotionally frenzied. I certainly never feel the need to belittle or demean anyone else. I make an attempt at intelligent discussion...and yes, depending on who I am speaking with, that can be challenging.

Why is it that if I (a Christian mother who believes in the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of life, the need for welfare reform so that those who truly need it most can be lifted, and the importance of national security) stand firm for what I believe, bullies call me emotional, they say I am fanatical? These same people will digress to name-calling, raising voices and flipping me off when they see the campaign sticker on my car...maybe I am confused here, but it seems only one of us is suffering a loss of the temper, and it isn't me.

My bully intolerance really flares up when I accidentally ingest a dose of MSNBC, NPR, or The New York Times....uh-oh, I'm pretty sure I just threw up in my mouth a little. Pages could be written on the ways that our media bullies us. Yes, they really do. I am finding that it is often subtle and crafty, but it is there nonetheless. And while I am on this topic, can I just say I am so past hearing that this year we have some golden opportunity to vote in "the most historic election of all times". In my opinion, every election is historic. I have always been grateful for the opportunity to vote. The names Barack Obama and Sarah Palin listed on a ballot do not make me any more grateful for the opportunity to vote. Frankly I think it is sad that people feel more inclined to vote this year because those two names have made their way to a ballot. (Cue the hate mail.....)

I thought the whole point of the Civil Rights Movement, a movement that so many truly amazing people led and also died for, as well as the point of women being beaten and jailed so others could gain the privilege of voting, was to show that we are all important. Each one of us matters. Maybe I am naive? I was not at all shocked when Obama became a presidential nominee, not at all surprised when a woman was chosen for a national ticket. I understand that racism and sexism exist today, but I also believe that this is a great country. I believe that even though there are bullies in every crowd, they are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the silent majority who treasure and value every human life! If you are just figuring this out because of Obama and Palin, then you have possibly fallen prey to the bullyish spinnings of a media that wants nothing more than for us to fear, and hate, and despise one another. They have to fill 24 hours with something; unfortunately, it seems as though feeding upon our misconceptions and insecurities sells. Hmmmm, now I have to think on more ways to stop buying the crap they sell.

Are you Bully Intolerant? I certainly hope so. Do not let anyone bully you. You do not have to accept the bullies' pitch that we are a nation of racists and sexists. I hope you will stand proud in your voting booth, grateful to be part of this nation. I hope you vote based on your own personal ideals and values, unswayed by race or gender. Because if you truly embrace what this country can and should be, you look beyond both.

I have often been called feisty. In the past, I didn't think that was too complimentary. I think I will now wear that descriptor as a badge of honor. I don't think I could stand up to the bullies without having some feisty in me. As I balance seeing in others that which is beautiful and pure/not looking on mankind's faults with following my God-given instinct to speak up for what is true and right, feisty definitely comes in handy.

p.s. Journalists Couric and Walters, lay off the snarkiness...that's my gig!


KC Kanenwishers said...

you are feisty and I love it. I can't bring myself to watch Couric or the View for that very reason. They treat everyone like that and I choose to show my vote that I don't appreciate it by not watching their shows. They sicken me the way they try to back people into a corner. I know I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I know when someone is being bullied and rallied against. It goes against my spirit entirely. These same people are always causing contention and playing "devil's advocate". What about being an advocate for truth and for the love of mankind instead. Yes...I get ruffled too but I'm not eloquent like you to share my I'll just let you do my voicing for me!

Rachel Taylor said...

I love it! We need more people like you in the world, willing to stand up to those who do wrong in this world. Keep up the good work!

Jared said...

This is one of the many reasons why I married you.

lemonadeskies said...

Amen, I have the same confusion as to how Bullies continue to reign in so many places, maybe we need to start a bully busters club! LOL...Its a real problem, and it only worsens as people become more tolerent as you described. This is just not the way we are meant to communicate and learn and grow together as a culture and society.
So for now, BULLY BUSTERS unite!

Caroline said...

AMEN!! I would give anything to get you on the view!! I have only seen a few episodes but they bothered me for days. They crucify that poor girl every chance they get. Conservative, happily married women with kids who don't rely on our government for anything ARE bullied in all directions. I will always respect others & thier "so called alternative" ideas. But for some reason, others feel they can't rest until they have shoved "acceptance" down our throats. Thats what's nice about our country, WE DON'T HAVE TO TAKE IT!!

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MOM said...

Thank goodness....we were all wondering where the "belle" had gone for several days there!
No worry....she's baaaaaaaack!

Once again, why we all love you. Like you and I always say, the most intolerant people on the planet are the ones screaming "tolerance" while hurling insults, name-calling, and the like b/c someone does agree with them.
So they just get madder and louder....guess no one ever told them just b/c you YELL the LOUDEST DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE RIGHT!!! Bullies of the world, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!
Love ya...keep it up!

MOM said...

OOPS....that would be "DOES NOT AGREE".....sorry, I'm old! :)

Emily said...

I'm so glad Virginia posted that comment. I've been looking for suffragettes with whom I could fall in love via an email series on my coffee breaks.

Thanks for being a voice of reason.