This Could Be the Year We Start to End Bullying

Given that a bully like Donald Trump is running for president, there just isn’t enough talk about bullying as a serious problem in this country. There does seem to be a lot of concern, but not enough. Let’s face it; the entire Republican platform has consisted largely of bullying for years. This should surprise no one, since bullying goes part and parcel with bigotry, and there is also a lot of that in the GOP these days. I mean, they can try to separate themselves from Trump if they want, but the fact of the matter is, he’s saying nothing his chosen party hasn’t said for years. His entire shtick is straight out of right wing talk radio, which is where the Tea Party came from.

This election can’t just be Hillary Clinton vs. Donald  Trump. This has to be about ridding ourselves of the bullying that is at the heart of the current incarnation of the Republican Party. All bullying needs to stop, but this can be the first step to a new world. Every Republican must go, and never come back until their party is reconfigured in a way that rejects the politics of bullying. And this isn’t political rhetoric. I have fought bullying for years, and this election is the time to send a statement.

We will never be a truly free country until every single person is treated with the respect and dignity due them as human beings. All human beings deserve basic respect until such time that they do something that makes such respect impossible.  We are all who we are; we should all be left alone to live our own lives. No one should be subjected to negative treatment because of any singular aspect of who he or she is. Who a person is sexually attracted to or how a person approaches gender is not the totality of who they are, and that aspect of anyone’s life is simply no one else’s business.

Too many people seem hell-bent on passing judgment on others based on arbitrary superfluous criteria about which we know nothing and which is none of our business? Why do they think their personal judgment is important enough to deny others a basic right to live their own lives in whatever way they see fit? Why do they still think it’s okay to treat anyone seen as “different” with anything short of dignity and respect?

Of course, we all know why this is the case. It’s the neocon influence of the Republican Party. Back when Democrats were in charge, in the 1950s and 1960s, we were starting to shed our collective prejudices. It’s the bigotry and hatred inherent in the collection of deplorables the Republican Party has been recruiting and attracting since 1964 that is the problem. ; it’s stronger than it should be. It’s the primary reason the United States went from world icon to world pariah between 2001 and 2009. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard the rhetoric; the entire Republican ideology is based on treating everyone as 320 million individuals, as long as those individuals do what they think should be done. This is nonsense. Yes, we are individuals, but we also live here together, as a series of communities and, ultimately, one large community.

Face it; we all need each other. We are all part of society, and every one of us has a small part in making it work. The single mother in the poorest section of the city has just as much worth to society as Bill Gates and a hell of a lot more than Donald Trump. The child she is raising might grow up to be president or to cure cancer. In fact, there is more chance of that than there is of a Trump child doing so. Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with the possibility that the child may grow up and wash cars or work on a garbage truck; those are also necessary professions, as well. We shouldn’t value lawyers and doctors more than factory workers, landscapers or construction workers, because they’re all necessary to a functioning society. The factory worker may be making the MRI machine the doctor uses? And how well would he use that machine without electricity, or a building? Nearly everyone has a place in society, regardless of how invisible they seem to be at times.

The current incarnation of the Republican Party has taken the concept of “self-centered” to new heights these days.. Nearly everyone has been an integral part in building this country into what it is — or at least what it was before Republicans tried to tear it apart. While modern day Republicans think of the United States as a huge corporation, as usual, they’re wrong. We’re more like a family, and they’re the blowhard uncles that no one should ever listen to.  Think about it. When something tragic happens in this country, you feel it viscerally, as if it was happening to a family member. It’s also the case when something really good happens. When the first black president was inaugurated in 2009, the pride was palpable. At least, it was for most people. And on January 20, 2017, we will all smile with pride when the first woman president takes the Oath of Office.

Some in our family are hurting badly; they are being made to feel like outcasts; like they don’t belong. The fact that someone has to remind us that “Black lives matter” should make us feel ashamed. Of course they matter. If someone, like a trans person, decides to stay true to who they are, when someone tries to prevent them from doing so, that is not just wrong, it’s bullying. That serves to deny them the opportunity to follow their dreams and to make their contribution to the American experience. And it’s just plain wrong. No one should be made to feel that way. That’s bullying, and there should be no place for that in our society. Unless you are deemed dangerous by experts, everyone should be left to live their lives as they see fit. The only limit should be the point where exercising their rights begins to infringe on the rights of others. Until that point, we should all be free to follow our dreams, whether that means marrying a member of the same sex, becoming the man or woman you feel you should be or whatever else you want to be. No one’s rights should be subject to the approval of Republicans or anyone else. Rights should be assumed to exist, unless something they do to someone else disqualifies them. The fact that you find certain things “icky” shouldn’t determine who gets to exercise their rights as humans. Yet, that is the heart of the Republican platform.

The dividing line between having the right to do something and not should always be based on the safety and security of the people, not based on their personal sensibilities. If it were up to me, drunk redneck right wingers would all be locked up because I don’t like them. But would that be fair? I don’t think so, and neither should you. So, why are so many Americans at the mercy of a relatively small group of Americans who call themselves Republican, who think denying people the right to be who they are, whether that’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, black, Hispanic, immigrant or any other subset of humanity they choose to denigrate. People are sitting by as these people are pounded mercilessly for being themselves. We are watching these people tell us that everyone is made by God, but that God is making a lot of mistakes, and they shouldn’t have to deal with them. And as “Godly” as they claim to be, they badger and harass these people, and they take great pride in their efforts. LGBT teens are committing suicide in part because of how others see them, and the people who bully them to that point should be ashamed of themselves.

When do we grow up, folks? We should be ashamed that a country that brags of being “the land of the free and the home of the brave” needs hate crimes legislation, but we do. People are being bullied, harassed and assaulted by people because some gomer has decided the target “looks gay.” How is that person not extra dangerous? There is a huge difference between someone who beats up or kills someone because of something they did, and someone who does so because of the way a person looks.

It’s time we all embraced each other. We all need to accept reality, including the cracker/redneck/ignoramus population that makes up the Republican “base.” Black and brown people are here and they’re sticking around; and thank God for that. Strong women are here and they’re sticking around and one of them is about to run the country and thank God for that.. Undocumented immigrants are here and they’re sticking around because we need them. And make no mistake; LGBTQ individuals are here and they’re sticking around and thank God for that. Instead of whining about them and wallowing in their ignorance about them, what’s wrong with learning more about them and trying to understand them.

This election is not just Trump v. Clinton. This is about the soul of America and what we stand for. This is our greatest opportunity in many years to get rid of the bullies in the Republican Party. It won’t all happen this year, we’ll need at least 4-5 election cycles. But this is our chance to rid ourselves of the bullies that make up the current Republican Party. Everyone has rights, not just the right wing cranks. It’s time we honored that.

No one in our society should feel like an outcast unless they commit a serious crime against others and have to spend some time behind bars. It doesn’t matter if they’re short or tall or thin or fat. It shouldn’t matter if they’re blonde, brunette, redhead or they dye their hair pink or blue; brown, black, yellow, white or any mixture. It shouldn’t matter of they are able-bodied or disabled. It shouldn’t make a difference if they have a vagina or a penis or one of each. It shouldn’t matter if they’re or whether they are gay, straight, bisexual, trans or just confused. Everyone is part of the human race, and deserve dignity.

The things we say and do to or about others matters, folks. If you wouldn’t like hearing it yourself, don’t say it to someone else. If you wouldn’t like something done to you, don’t do it to someone else. Think before you speak and do things to other people. Remember; just because you’re entitled to your opinion doesn’t mean the rest of us are going to listen to it without responding. Choose your words and actions carefully, and strive to bring peace wherever you are.

Peace makes life less stressful. And there is nothing peaceful about the current GOP.

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