At a local neighborhood meeting the other day, I made a comment that someone else didn’t like — and the next thing I knew this person was yelling at me BigTime. Perhaps she thought that the sheer volume of her voice would bully me into keeping the real 411 to myself. Not gonna happen.
I’ve been bullied all my life by all kinds of expert bullies. I’ve been threatened by terrorists in Iraq, chased by North Korean border guards, issued death threats by the IDF — and, even worse, raised in a Republican town! You can’t get much more bullied than that. So now I never back down for anyone — let alone someone who merely raises his or her voice.
And so, at the meeting, I used my “outside voice” on that bully — a voice that makes even dogs and bats hide under the bed. But did that make me feel any better? No, not even close. All I’d done was just to stoop to her level. Not good.
Bullies are people who, when they can’t win their arguments by truth, reason or logic, then result to violence, intimidation, lies and extortion. School-yard bullies use that technique. And, on the national and international level, it is also used by the Mafia, Al Qaeda, Fox News, the IDF, the GOP, America’s new militarized police forces and our new massive highly-weaponized armies happily dreaming of world-wide “pre-emptive war” at the taxpayers’ expense. So how do we protect ourselves against bullies? Not sure. Non-violent resistance is good — but losing one’s life in order to non-violently preserve one’s own self-respect is bad.
Strength in numbers is good (just look at what WalMart workers are achieving through their demonstrations) http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/dave-johnson/46774/demonstrations-at-1000-stores-crack-walmart-anti-worker-wall — but getting pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets by our new militarized police forces in the process is bad.
Raising our children to believe in Truth and Justice is good. Bullying our children with spankings and other types of brutal actions of the strong against the weak is bad. ANYONE can beat up a two-year-old.
Social media freedom and WikiLeaks are good. Media distortion and censorship is bad.
And, according to Dave Lindorff, climate change is bad for most of us but might be hunky-dory for bullies. http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/dave-lindorff/46776/thinking-the-unthinkable-what-if-america-s-leaders-actually-want-catastrophic-climate-change
When we decent folk stand up against bullies, no matter what it costs us, this makes us feel good about ourselves — but it also makes us feel bad because we have stooped to their level. But as Jesus, Buddha, etc. once said, “There is more good in human beings than there is bad.” And now, more than ever, it is time for the good part of our human nature to come out — and to stop kowtowing to bullies. And to stop BEING bullies as well.
But I digress.
What I really want to talk about here is the very nature of “war” — where the strong intimidate the weak and the biggest bully takes all. Unfortunately, it’s not the smartest or most creative or the kindest or the best or most hard-working person who takes it all — it’s the ones with the most weapons and the least shame.
In the last 65 years, America has become the biggest bully in the world. I’m ashamed to say that — but it is true. And all our super-macho armies and all our vainglorious wars, even the ones involving squabbling with other bullies over the same turf, don’t make us any better than what we really have become: Bullies.
We try to teach our kids not to be bullies — and then we ourselves turn around and wave flags and cheer and support all kinds of brutal bullying done by America’s vast war machine, even though we have armed and equipped these bullies ourselves; at the expense of our own jobs, homes, infrastructure, schools, lifestyles, elders and kids.
A few million years ago, dinosaurs were the ultimate bullies and mammals were the ultimate victims — in a race between the strong and the meek. But just look how things have turned out. Seen any dinosaurs around lately? I think not.
And who knows what new life-form will start evolving once our current human bullying “Masters of War” are extinct.
At the rate we are going — between the massive weapons races, the invasions and Occupations, the terrorism (state-sponsored and otherwise), the nuclear arsenals, whatever — it looks like the meek truly are going to inherit the earth. Again.