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I'm the author of The Liberty Pole. I dabble a bit in blogging and have a fascination with early American history (late 18th century) as well as WWII. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Bully by trix0r
via Flickr creative commons

Do you remember those little phrases that we were taught as children to remind us that words couldn't hurt us? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. My grandmother used to say that people had to have permission to hurt my feelings. That was a good one too. I'm sure there are many more throughout the country, because bullies are nothing new. Most of the time, in my experience, they are people (children or adults) that feel inadequate in some form or fashion. Maybe they weren't hugged enough as children or maybe they feel themselves slipping in a battle of wits. When you get down to it, it rarely matters when you're at the other end of it.

Bullies are nothing new. Today's children see them, yesterday's children, and so on and so on. Sometimes it's a kid on the playground, a boss, or a dictator. When you narrow it down, they're all bullies. It depends on what level of power they're given on how much destruction they can cause.

I think we can all agree that bullying is wrong. There are campaigns and movements to stop bullying with kids, so why is it that our national government strives to teach it day in and day out? These men and women that we've hired - yes, folks, your tax dollars pays for their lifestyle, so don't think for two seconds that we didn't hire them - to represent us have become little more than tantrum throwing children in some cases. I've seen in happened to others and I've been on the receiving end of it. 

Racist. Bigot. Sexist. Closed-minded. Un-accepting . Hateful. Angry. Stupid. 

I'm a bit of an idealist. I'm okay with admitting that. Being an idealist, whenever someone claims to be open-minded, for years I took them at their word. They wanted to have an adult conversation, a debate of ideals, knowing that we weren't going to change each other's minds, but interested to know what an other intelligent human being thought. Perhaps that's not what they meant by "open-minded." Perhaps I don't understand the meaning.

I have a theory that if you step out and say "I believe in [insert your belief here]" and truly believe in it, you cannot believe that anyone else that differs from that opinion is correct. I don't think this is a negative thing. There is a difference, though, in polite disagreement and arrogance. Polite disagreement is where both parties respect each other (granted, you may find the other person's belief to be so far-fetched that you can't bring yourself to respect that, but you can be gracious about it and respect the individual for their right to believe as they do) and show a certain level of maturity about it, even if neither party will ever be swayed by the other. Guess what? That's okay. This country was built for a variety of different beliefs. It's when we start stifling one or two groups that we start hedging on dangerous territory. 

To those liberal Democrats that truly are open-minded, and I have met some, I want to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for breaking the mold. To those that like to lure idealists such as myself into a conversation and when you find something you disagree with break out the insulting phrases above: just say no. It's rude and it's childish to name-call, not to mention that it greatly takes away from the actual meaning of the phrases you use. A person is not a racist for disagreeing with Barack Obama. He would be a racist if he thought that the only reason that the current president shouldn't hold office was because of the color of his skin. When you throw around terms such as this lightly, it degrades the true meaning. A bit like crying wolf. 

Don't be the bully in the ideological and political playground. If you have a valid point to make, then make it. Name calling is what you do when you lose control. We're all guilty of it at some point, but we have to learn to curb that lash-out mentality and debate openly if we are to fix anything in this country. Bullying people into believing as we do is not the answer. Maybe if we start showing respect amongst ourselves we'll start hiring representatives with some respect of their own.