Monday, May 30, 2005
Memorial Day is really a celebration of wars' worst outcome, those who gave their lives to protect America. Paranthetically, it should also feature the surviving wounded who are forced to live different futures than what they hoped for, so disabled are they. But memorial day is also about "bullyism".
Bullyism is the practice of irrational force on a weak opponent or supposed weak opponent just for the sake of exercising power and, also, protecting one's interests. In WWI, it was Kaiser Whilhelm. In WWII, it was Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan. In Korea, it was North Korea with the backing of China. In the Cold War it was the Soviet Union, America in particular, and every other country in some way or another, e.g. small or weak countries nuclear bomb development. In the recent Afghan and Iraqi Wars, it was President George Bush. In all instances, they resorted to violence rather than diplomacy, because bullyism was and is a part of their culture and history of emperors, kings, charismatic religious figures, and some misinterpretation of the Bible or Koran or whatever religious text that inbreeds this impulse. I am not talking here about the violent response to having one's life threatened.
An illumination of what bullyism can do to individuals, workers, and an entire town is HBO's original movie, "Empire Falls". The central character, Miles Roby, is victimized by the bullying town patriarch, Francine Whiting, whose family owns the town, owned a plant that employed much of the town before it closed, and who finds joy in paralyzing her suicide husband, her crippled daughter, the minor charcters in the movie, and her main subject, Miles. In turn, Miles is bullied by Francine's soldiers, the town cop, the town bureaurcracy, and his ex-wife. And finally, as a violent reaction to bullyism, in particular that of the town cop's brutal bully son and his violent fixation on the weakest student, a Columbine school shoot-out takes place by the shaky hand, holding a gun, of his victim. The hopeful conclusion of the movie shows one person's, Miles', freedom from bullyism.
There is nothing very mysterious about the origins bullyism. The victims of bullyism become bullies in some form or another. It is the children of unreasonable, angry and, these days, absent parents; the workers in giant, unfeeling, bottom-line fixated corporations; former slaves and indentured servants; and those who have lost their former status. There are others. The masters of bullyism are the frightened and the legally liable, rule driven teachers and school administrators; CEOs and lower level administrators who fear their jobs and income; and just people put in charge of something, sometimes with the support of a gun. It is certainly no mystery why Columbine happened, why Washington assassins roamed the region before capture, and why the public, in general and specifically in DC, is angry and anxious and rude and uncaring of one another.
Strange that few fight back, expose the bullies for what they are, or put in place a more caring mode of parenting, supervising, teaching, and the rule of a country's interests. Aside from the fact that many are fearful of loosing their jobs, their life styles, and, in extreme cases, their actual lives, there is some sort of acceptance of "that's the way it is, always has been, and will continue to be in the future". These days in this country having been freed from the political correctness of liberals, bullyism, masked as a determined, strong, morally and religiously based national leadership, has flourished. The unreasonable, often bigoted, egotistical, iron hand belongs to everyone and is OK. The negative world wide impact on nations and individuals is never considered, because "bullyism" is the right way to lead and rule. It has become a charismatic movement in itself, not unlike the followers of Hitler, Mussolini, the Bolshevist Revolution in Russia, and imperial Japan. They believe or are fooled into believing that this uplifts our economy, the national cause of democracy and individuals' chances to succeed. It gets us back "to the basics": America's moral and religious traditions and public behavior.
My strong feelings on this subject are associated with the words "treason", "weakness", "disloyalty", "whistle blower", "rabble rouser", and the most perjorative term "left-leaning liberal" used by the bullies, in connection with the fighters of bullyism. Isn't the destruction of bullyism the way to personal freedom and individual choice? Isn't that getting back to the basics of our constitutional democracy? Bullyism is the rule of charismatic dictatorship and authoritarianism and the opposite of our American values.