Bullying has been around forever, it is anchored by what appears to be a common, but really a problematic issue. There are several unique types of bullying; the electronic communication / cyberbullying, physical bullying, verbal bullying, relational aggression / emotional bullying, sexual bullying and prejudicial bullying. With those said, I would like to coin a new type of bullying, called “political bullying”.
As an adult, I am a victim of bullying, I have never been called such deplorable names in my life. With that said, I am going to be vulnerable and hit a hot button topic!Politics, yes, I said it!Politics… Politics… Politics! Beneath the “liberal” vs “conservative” choice, there are about 36 days until the mid-terms, so now is the time both parties will kick it up a notch and be rude, pathetic political bullies. Politics is a cutthroat topic and is a perfect example where you can put ALL types of bullying into one category! Regardless of political affiliation or views, many of us are hooked on the latest twists and turns of the unprecedented and unpredictable political issues in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
I found an article in Psychology Today called, Understanding the Roots of Political “Bully Culture”. I do not agree with everything in this article, but the author, Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D, had some amazing points. Our culture is completely lost, we are no longer able to engage in a healthy respectful dialog, “it’s a bottomless pit of ugliness; comments that evoke intimidation, suspicion, fear, and shame are rampant. There are clear attempts to cyber-bully people into voting for him, or attack their character for supporting her”.It’s no secret that the Main Stream Media (MSM) outlets love their liberal agenda that they are continuously pushing. We need our media, no matter what their political preference is, to be unbiased. We need to model and encourage a constructive, productive and civil discussion, to lighten up the conversation, create common connections, and help the frustrated feel heard.
In this day and age, if you do not think like or support the Democrat party, watching MSM is a nightmare!Conservatives voices no longer have a media outlet or platform. I just heard a podcast called, Future of the First Amendment and internet freedom at stake, banned conservative journalist, Alex Jones spoke of just this. Not only are conservatives social media platforms, such as; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter being temporally suspended, if you support President Trump in any way your account is being closed. This article was great because it was a classic example if you do not agree with the sheep, you will be shadow banned or shut down. If the sheep are all going one way and you ask questions about it, no, you no longer have a right to your first amendment right, your freedom of speech just gets shut down. That’s one way to bully conservatives.If we are going to stop bullying we need to exactly what Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D suggested and find a healthy respectful dialog.Think about how many children and teens were absorbing Mrs. Clinton’s and Mr. Trump’s speeches on television, radio, newspapers and social media.This political bullying with their speeches, insults, put-downs, and “potty words.”
In fact, BOTH sides have an litany of insults against opponents, journalists or anyone disliked comes straight from the grade school bullies’ playbook. Trump calls them “babies,” “losers,” “little,” “a nothing,” and urges them to “go home to mommy.” Mrs. Clinton is at it also with, “deplorable”, “racist”, “sexist”, homophobic” “nazis”. These short, simple words (pegged at a 2nd grade reading level) are precisely the words most often found in the verbal insults schoolyard bullies hurl at young children and as adults we continue to teach our children this is okay in political bullying. In front of our children we may feel more empowered defending our party choice when they are being victimized, but, we also know about the powers of observational learning. When children observe a person who models, or exhibits, certain speech or behavior, particularly when a person appears to be a powerful and influential adult, children will learn without being directly rewarded. The speech or behavior will enter their repertoire and be available for their use later. We also know that the same observations repeated over time will deepen such learning.
Thus, when bullying language, or other hate speech is “normalized” by adults and in the media, it becomes part of the social landscape of a child’s world. As a parent, I feel helpless on how to deal with bullying in general when my children are victims or perpetrators, especially when they can’t escape all the avenues of politically bullies. Going back to what Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D suggested, I would recommend all high school aged children be required to take a debate class. This way they can be taught how to listen to something they do not always agree with and be able to contribute to a healthy respectful dialog.