“BULLYING – abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful.”

In junior high school I weighed about 145 pounds, I was gangly and scrawny, and my oversized ears and nose made me an easy target for the big boys waiting in the gym where I had to go after lunch on my way to my next class.  Punching, poking, slapping, and pushing became such a stressful occurrence that I ended the school day with an extreme gastrointestinal disorder.  But the physical abuse was more tolerable than the name-calling and ridicule of my physical appearance.  I recovered from the punching and poking much sooner than the hurtful words.

The teachers were aware of the ongoing abuse.  Their advice was to fight back.  Not only was that a stupid idea, the big boys collectively weighed about 800 pounds, but it was an unacceptable option in the tradition of my faith.  The end result was that a young junior high school student blamed himself for the abuse and felt he actually merited the bullying because he was not only ugly but a coward as well.

We hurt each other with actions and words most often unaware of our indiscretion.  Mindlessness is not a virtue but it is forgivable.  Bullying is not mindless.  It is intentional, demeaning, diminishing, and tragic.  Today’s media headlines tell of young girls who are bullied at school and on social media and then choose suicide as the only option.  As young as twelve years old, they end their lives over an act of social injustice which tells them they are unworthy of living..

Yes, it is injustice.  Bullying is an action and an attitude.  It is an outrageous verbal and physical assault on those who are vulnerable, those who are unable to fend for themselves.  It is cowardice at its ugliest.  As a nation we are witnessing bullying in our highest government offices, in the powers seated in Washington, D.C., in the Oval Office of the White House.  We witness bullying in corporate offices, in the entertainment industry, in the factory, and in schools.  It is fed by bias, racism, discrimination, sexism, xenophobia, and unfettered ego.

We are building a world where bullying is not tolerated.  In that world the pain inflicted by words and actions on weaker victims will no longer exist.  The tears and sorrow suffered in grieving for loved victims will no longer exist.  The strong and powerful will be made to serve and the meek will be exalted.  That world will manifest someday, but until then it is our responsibility as members of a righteous humanity to oppose bullying at all levels of society and courageously expose it for the cowardice which it is.



to facebook or not to facebook

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…..that, my friends, is the question of importance this morning.  On the one hand, Facebook is informational and I’m able to follow the groups and organizations such as SPLC, AU, Media Matters, and my Congressmen which keep me informed about issues of significance in my life.  On the other hand Facebook is filled with a litany of stupidity and ignorance that somehow also creeps into my daily routine.

Friends on Facebook?  Yeah, right.  I am “public”, anybody can read me.  Of those who follow me are 7 people whom I do not know, and one girlfriend from the foggy days of the 1970s.  She scares me more than any of the others.  Assuredly, I can access the privacy settings and make myself virtually inaccessible, but, what’s the point in that.

No, as a blogger friend has noted, it should be called “Fakebook”.  I like that.  It just rolls off the tongue and it is a much more accurate description of what a man can expect when he signs up.  Although, during the 2016 campaign, my cadre of Facebook “friends” showed their true colors and most of them deleted me.  Hmmmmmm.  maybe there is a redeeming value in Fakebook.

I am virtually friendless on social media but, I now know who the loyal people are in my life.

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In any alternative dialog the Las Vegas tragedy could have been headlined as “Madman employs weapons of mass destruction to murder 59 concert-goers.”

Bush used the threat of WMDs to involve us in a war in 2003 which saw nearly a half million Iraqi citizens murdered in addition to thousands of American military personnel.  Our overwhelming use of firepower did not bring resolution to the people of Iraq, our persecution and consequent prosecution of Hussein did not stop the advance of international terrorism, and our military presence in principalities controlled by centuries-old tribal disputes has not deterred madmen from doing the things which madmen are known to do.  They murder.

The American breed of madmen is encouraged by the epidemic of violence which has blackened the souls of thousands of grieving countrymen.  The American breed of madmen is assisted in his/her diabolical schemes of murderous rampage by undeterred access to weaponry designed to be used only by soldiers fighting in combat situations.  And the American breed of madmen is supported by a senseless interpretation of rights under the 2nd amendment.  This underlying creed has facilitated the unfettered growth of the NRA (National Rifle Association) into an organization which became “an avatar of white anxiety” that viewed President Obama as someone who “wanted to deprive gun-toting Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms.”NRA

“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump thundered before cheering throngs at the NRA’s annual meeting in April. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

Under Mr. Obama’s Presidency, annual gun production skyrocketed 239 percent and the NRA membership hit a record five million.  It poured over $30 million into Trump’s campaign and millions more to stack Congress with gun-friendly lawmakers.  All but one of the NRA backed candidates won.  NRA millions

We Americans live in a war zone.  The terrorists we truly need to fear do not face the east five times daily to pray, they are not sequestered under the leadership of a man named Kim in North Korea.  The terrorist organization in our midst is a well-funded , politically involved, 5 million-strong, violence-promoting corps of quasi-militants who gather under the auspices of the NRA.  We need to wake up. This is not the NRA which decades ago protected the rights of sportsmen to own shotguns and rifles for hunting.  This organization promotes the accumulation of WMDs under the guise of 2nd amendment rights.  It is government approved terrorism.

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the sandbox


When I was a little boy, Tommy, the kid down the street, would come by to play in my sandbox.  I had the neatest sandbox in the neighborhood.  It was painted a deep blue and it had a white canopy over it.  The cats from next door also loved it.

Tommy’s parents had a lot more money than my parents and he had the newest, brightest, biggest trucks and cars which he brought with him to play.  We spent hours moving sand from one corner to the other making truck noises and when that got old we raced the cars in an oval around the inside of the box.

But, Tommy had a problem.  He was an only child and he was spoiled rotten.  Always got everything he wanted and if he didn’t, Tommy could throw the most vicious and loud hissy fit of any of my neighborhood friends.  Then in a huff of anger, my friend would gather up all his toys and go home not to be seen again for days.  I was left to play with my old, dilapidated dump truck with a missing wheel.

You already see where this is going, don’t you?

Our current POTUS is very much like Tommy.  Spoiled rotten, narcissistic, self-serving and vicious when deprived of what he wants.  And in his own, personal little world that is fine.  He is the CEO and if he wants to be an asshole in that little world of his then by all means he ought to do so.  The problem is this.  We are not playing in my backyard and America is not a sandbox.  When Trump spits and sputters the entire world is watching and America cringes in embarrassment.  When he decides to take his toys home, millions of folks who are less “privileged” than Trump are affected by the tirades and outbursts.

The recent unfolding scenario with healthcare validates my point.  There are, as in all debates, two sides and we need to be aware of each side’s concerns.  In a mature discussion, I consider your take on healthcare in its current form and you consider mine.  And then we would go to the negotiating table and hammer out something which satisfies each of us.

As we know, that has not yet happened in Congress.  But, it will because voices of wisdom and compromise are infiltrating a deadlocked assembly.   The problem is what to do in the interim.  It will be months before any solution is reached.  Millions of Americans are dependent on the system that is in place.  The poor, the elderly, those with outrageous medical expenses face a very uncertain future while our legislators attempt to fix and nail down a satisfactory compromise.

They need a supporter, a leader, a voice of wisdom, a compromiser, a visionary, and what do they get?  A little, pouting Tommy gathering his toys and running home to his private world of privilege, ranting and tweeting on the way about how harsh and unfair the sandbox was.  He has publicly stated that he will let our current policies die rather than pretend to be a President and find ways to help fix the problems.

C’mon people, we can do better than this.  We deserve better than this.  Elections of 2018 and 2020 are quickly coming down on us.  Get to know your candidates and get out and vote.smiley-face-2