Let's talk about bullying. It is an epidemic in our schools. In fact, it is an epidemic in our culture too. But maybe not in the way most people would define as bullying.
A definition of bullying:Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.
Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace.
Bullying behaviour can be:
I would argue that bullying has become an acceptable, even preferred tool of political campaigns. And that there is evidence that the left, best represented on the national level by the Democratic Party and its many surrogates and operatives, are experts at manifesting forces that effectively bully voters. The evidence is clear that Democrats use dirt in the form of claims of sexual abuse, innuendo and threats of slander to affect the outcome of elections.
Any objective analysis of nearly every Presidential campaign, many Congressional races and even Supreme Court nominations have been victimized by Democratic Party surrogates since the turn of the 20th century.
The obvious ones in recent history are claims that Barry Goldwater was a warmonger and John Birch Society member, a xenophobe who would quickly destroy the planet with nuclear war. That Gerald Ford's wife was a drunken loudmouth who might compromise the nation's secrets. They claimed Richard Nixon was an antisemite, that Ronald Reagan was a racist, and that Clarence Thomas appointment to the Supreme Court was a joke, a token put there by racist white Republicans. Oh, in case that wasn't enough to sink his nomination, he 'placed pubic hairs on a soda can' of a female employee of his law office, as a way to intimidate her into having sex with him. None of which was ever proven to be true, and which is so stupid it is insulting to our intelligence.
Responding to the Democratic attacks on him during his Senate Judiciary hearing over workplace intimidation claims by Anita Hill, a former employee,Thomas observed:
"This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree."
The Democrats painted Thomas as an abuser of women, a fan of pornography and a Oreo cookie judge who catered to his white masters. It was said that George Bush was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and was therefore able to avoid wartime military exposure by getting behind the scenes help and to avoid a drunk driving charge.
Then John McCain was characterized as agreeing "with racism, bigotry and hatred." And it was said Mitt Romney was fine with letting his employee's wife die from cancer, rather than offer them health insurance and that he put thousands of people out of work and caused them to lose their homes just so he could flip the business for massive profits.
These more-often-than-not false claims, always come just before an election ( i.e., October Surprise) or Supreme Court appointment, so there is no time to properly respond. They are part of orchestrated campaigns to impugn, to slander and to destroy political opponents, presumably because the Democrats can't run on a fair discussion of the issues.
This type of political assault is nothing less than bullying. It is no different than the big kid in the elementary school pushing one of the other kids around. It is using massive amounts of cash from surrogate support groups, and their sympathetic friends in the media, to try to intimidate and control how people perceive conservatives and how they vote.
When these kind of tactics are used against women in divorce cases, for example, all hell breaks loose. The feminist coalition comes out swinging, but if the male spouse incorporates similar claims of infidelity or drug use or whatever, the same lobby will assail him as a misogynist!
Slander is used precisely because it does what it is intended to do: To intimidate and bully. In courts that follow the law, unproven claims are dismissed as 'unreliable', or 'inadmissible' or 'prejudicial', because the judge knows once a slander is let out of Pandora's Box, it is impossible to 'unring' the bell'.
But the opposite is true in civic discourse, especially in the media coverage of it.
In a sick way, we voters tend to forget these historical events every four years, and like abused housewives, re-invite our dangerous spouses back into our home and tell our friends that as bad as he has been, "He promises it will never happen again."
We want to believe in the Democrat promises of help for the underprivileged, for the little man, for the middleclass, and that by voting for the Democrats, everything will be OK again. Is the tactic unique to Democrats? No, but because their priorities are entirely driven by serving small, tribal identity issues, their best strategic approach is to discredit the opposition. Though Democrats claim to be defenders of what's fair, in the end, it comes down to 'what's fair for my client'.
Women should know better. By now, we all should know better. Unless you just fell off the back of a turnip truck, you have to have witnessed a couple of generations of Democratic character assassinations to see that this is their template for winning elections, for destroying the opposition when they can't win on merit, or when the popular thinking starts going to the right.
In college, part of my study of the emerging mass media was to read The Medium Is The Massage by Marshall McLuhan. Wikipedia notes:
"(McLuhan) demonstrates how modern media are extensions of human senses; they ground us in physicality, but expand our ability to perceive our world to an extent that would be impossible without the media. These extensions of perception contribute to McLuhan’s theory of the Global Village, which would bring humanity full circle to an industrial analogue of tribal mentality."
The prescient book was published in 1967!
McLuhan touched on an aspect of the media that has recently become a cultural tumor; the way people perceive the world around them is less and less from personal experience and more and more from digital input, from TV, internet, theatre and newspaper. The filter that the media places between their interpretation and the interests of the audience, is less and less as a disinterested third party observation and dispassionate reporting, and more and more driven by profane exploitation of innuendo, unspecified sources and keyhole observations, all aimed at grabbing an audience and selling advertising.
There are dozens of examples of how character assassination and 'mudslinging' is angering voters. But once the election comes around and the choice is about something that directly affects people, it is easy to overlook process indignities and to vote your pocketbook or your emotional impulses.
On the local level, bullying is especially effective with identity political issues like voter intimidation, or racial profiling, etc. The ACLU can threaten small city administrators with expensive lawsuits. Even when the City Council is sure they are morally justified in their decisions, sometimes it is impossible to find the resources to got to court, to hire counsel, to devote hours of overworked staff, to fight an order to place handrails in every publicly owned restroom in their jurisdiction, to ostensibly protect the human rights of handicapped citizens.
No one wants to place burdens on handicapped people, but there has to be limits. The left drives 'fairness' issues to the exclusion of everyday, pragmatic budget and process decisions, simply because they have the influence in judicial circles. And as we have seen in so many recent decisions, the judicial branch is constantly expanding its power to legislate by fiat.
Multiply this one narrow interest (handicap restroom grab bars) times hundreds of aggrieved victims, and you have a formula for small city bankruptcy. Then project the same scenario onto national stage, multiply the special interests by thousands, and the costs by multi millions, then add in the interests of the mass media to attract nationwide attention, to stir up controversy, which is like honey to bees, and you have a formula for public management dyspepsia.
The mass media thrives, while the machinations of running a country become entangled in conflict like my fishing line inevitably gets snagged in seaweed. That's why I hate fishing, and most people are starting to hate the duties and responsibilities of participating in the civics of our Democratic Republic.
So many Americans are jaded by the constant badgering, arguments, and anger coming from the discussion of everyday civics, that they have turned to escapist TV (reality shows about fake survival contests, fantasy lifestyles of the rich and famous, and nature documentaries) in droves, to the detriment of major network sitcoms and dramas.
So guess what? That means the TV industry is leaning more and more on their relatively cheap-to-produce "Fake News Departments.' They require no writers, no high priced TV stars, and much less overhead. The costs are mostly from travel and reporter salaries, but the revenue streams are huge if the programming can garner an audience.
Thus we have the rapid growth of 'Infotainment' hybrid programs. Which has been characterized as 'Fake News' because it blurs the lines drawn between pure news and entertainment geared to serve nothing other than the bottomline of the provider. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a program like TMZ that stalks celebrities and dishes dirt about their self indulgent and sometimes disgusting lifestyles and sometimes exposes the underside of public figures , the side they don't want anyone to see. Or programs like Stossel, that tries to look analytically at how viewers, consumers and bystanders perceive reality. Both shows deliver information and entertainment. The question is, which one should the public that is seeking truths about public policy be turning to, if at all.
The obvious challenge is, which institution is serving the role that the news departments in the early years of TV, radio and newspapers used to provide? The altruistic, unbiased reporters of facts, that the government used to place restrictions on, so as to defend the line between information and entertainment, or the profane, learing and provocative peeping tom hybrids that mix blood and gore with sex and innuendo, unsubstantiated claims and slander with high profile political and entertainment celebrity imagery?
The answer is people cannot ignore a car wreck, no matter what the human cost is, they have to slow down to take a look. So the media is incentivized to stage wrecks, and then use the impact to bully viewers with guilt.
The next time you see a media event, such as the Cathy Griffin incident, where she held up the simulated severed head of the President for no other reason than to draw attention to herself and her 'honorable progressivism', please think about how these media assaults are realistically just another form of bullying.