To the Editor:
In a movie I was watching, a young autistic boy was complaining about bullies in his school: “Mom! They’re getting older, and when bullies get older, they get meaner.” Smart kid.
I guess everyone has had to deal with at least one bully sometime in their life. In my case, I had to live with a bully. My older brother enjoyed bullying me. I complained to my parents, but they seemed unable to control his behavior, or perhaps they didn’t understand how bad it really was. Maybe they didn’t want to admit they had a son who was a bully.
My brother physically abused me, punching, hitting, pushing and tripping me. Then he would laugh about it. He must have felt very poorly about himself if it made him feel good to push me around, demonstrating his physical superiority over the skinny little kid that I was then.
I grew enough to be able to fight back and do him damage, so he changed his bullying to verbal abuse: I was too short, too slow, too stupid and on and on. He really liked to belittle me in front of my friends. The last time I saw my brother, he still wanted to act the bully, and he was in his mid-30s. I have chosen not to have anything to do with my brother for 30 years now.
Anyway, I know about bullies. Bullies are cowards. I never saw any bully pick on anyone bigger than they were. Bullies have something absent in their basic makeup that they need to make some one else feel small and fearful in order to feel better about themselves. Bullies love the power that our fear gives them. Once people learn that they can’t respond to a bully the same way they would a normal, well-adjusted person, they can diminish the bully’s power over them.
I learned to punch my bully-brother and run, since I was faster on my feet. You might term it “hit and run” or guerilla resistance. It felt pretty damned good.
You have to stand up to a bully, whether it’s on the schoolyard, city streets, bar room or the world stage. Sometimes bullies form gangs and roam about, looking for victims. Some bullies are in business and their victims come to them. When business-bullies get an obsession with greed, they form a monopoly.
Governments can be bullies, too. We look at the governments around the world and hear that our government condemns the government of this country or that nation for their human-rights policy toward their own people. Sometimes we impose trade sanctions and make statements about the need for this president or ruler to improve their peoples’ civil rights.
American government has no right to admonish other countries, considering our record of jailing dissidents and whistleblowers, of calling out police and National Guard to beat and kill protestors and striking workers. We do away with citizen rights when it interferes with the profit-margin of our ruling class.
We break contracts with workers and blame them for financial woes, asking the middle and lower classes to “bite the bullet” during times of national emergencies and financial straits.
Meanwhile, the wealthy go on enjoying their billions, their tax breaks and subsidies. The politicians continue drawing full pay, making the most of their free medical care and selling their votes to the highest bidder.
Madison, Wisconsin can be just the beginning.