Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bullying an American Epidemic

It seems like every time I turn on the TV lately there is someone bullying someone else or being bullied by someone else.   It may be because we are in the middle of an election year like no other and tempers are flaring faster than politicians and fake politicians can pounce on the latest one liner for the headline.  Sadly, I look around and see a nation of bullies from the potential top down.

I realize, hope, pray there are more good, honest, loving Americans in this country than what we see on television but as time marches on, my faith in the people of this country is waning.  Somewhere in the advent of the social media age, it became okay to think whatever you want and say it to people you don't  know.   It became okay to advocate violence and punching people who don't agree with you.   Somehow, in the last decade or two, we have become so desensitized to other people's suffering that we flock to watch videos of people dying online or people being hurt or destroyed by catastrophes and war.  We just don't care.

It is interesting because I have tried to pinpoint when we became a country that was both overly sensitive to silliness and under sensitive to our fellow human beings and I can't come up with the exact cause. When exactly did we become a nation of pissed off asshats?  When did being the biggest jerk on 3 continents make someone the potential leader of the free world?

 America during 9-11 wasn't like this.  Oh, we were already on the ridiculous PC-bandwagon,  but we were not hateful toward our fellow Americans.  We knew that our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and the people we worshiped with, believe in and bought into the American dream.   Even when those towers came down and people were hurt, shocked, and angry, most of us didn't blamed the random Muslim in the streets.   That isn't to say there weren't violent outbreaks because there were.   A crazy person here or there did something horrible.   I like to believe the rest of America was like me and tried to reassure the people who were from the Middle East originally, as best we could that we didn't blame them. A friendly smile and a 'How is your day?' and a 'Thank You' went a long way to bringing us back from the brink of despair and relating to each other as humans.

But the bullying goes beyond a Middle East hate.  Suddenly, our TV is inundated with certain candidates who seem to dislike every culture imaginable including our own.   When did it become okay to bash China, Mexico, Canada, people of other faiths, people of another sex, and/or people of another sexual orientation in public, on TV, and all the while encouraging your supporters to punch people?  When did that become funny?  When did that become acceptable?  When did that become a symbol of leadership in this country?   When did we become so damn angry?   When did we start to hate everyone who wasn't exactly like us?

Worse than that, people from other countries are watching US and believe their opinions of American's as brash, superficial, boasting, arrogant, ignorant, and vulgar are being proven in this election year.   Thanks in large part to a certain candidate who preaches hate in every form and every chance he gets, we are becoming a nation known for lacking culture, civility, and sense.   Sadly, I just look around and feel blessed that I don't have more children to worry about learning the wrong moral compass from the people who should know better, our leaders.

Oh, and don't get me wrong, there aren't any leaders on the other side who are any better.   Our choice is rapidly becoming a choice between two people who lie and take advantage of other human beings for fun.   Believing that any politician and that is what they are, outsiders or not, actually cares about us....well, that is a false hope that died with me when the current president took office.  It just doesn't happen.  Every person in office has their own agenda and at the top of that agenda, is their own personal interests and gain.  

So, what can we do?  What can I do?   Well, the first thing I intend to do is teach every child I come in contact with that this behavior of bullying is unacceptable.   I intend to stress to those kids in my life that getting to know people is the only solution to the problems.  Really getting to know them.   I will do what I have tried to do since I was a teenager (way, way, way back in the horse and buggy days) and that is keep an open mind and heart and be willing to talk reasonably with people from all sides about how we fix things.   Until a time comes when we can all stop being so angry and start communicating, we are going to continue repeating the mistakes of the past and continue bullying one another.

Let me be clear on this, I have lost friends because I refused to listen to them hate on another race, gender, culture, or religion.   I have walked away from people spewing garbage in my presence.  I have been on the receiving end of the hate and I have never turned it back on people.   I have tried to treat everyone exactly the same irregardless of how they treated me.   Don't retaliate, rise above.  That is what I have tried to do my entire life.   Apparently, I am a blast from the past, a person that is becoming extinct, an anomaly.

Popular Posts