Sunday, April 1, 2007

Bullying: Political Strategy in Time of War

Anti-bullying legislation passed in the Michigan House, but may die in the Senate. Most opposition to the bill is due to it prohibiting bullying on the basis of sexual orientation.

And do we really need it? Civility and decency are values and practices inculcated in childhood, yes. But you cannot legislate tolerance or civility. These are community values, family values, the province of parents raising children, not legislators in Lansing.

Let's get real.

Kid tested, spin master approved, bullying happens on the playground or at the $100-a-plate political gathering. If you are Ann Coulter, you just skip the niceties, coyly tilt your head and with a smile say,"faggot."

Haven't we evolved? Aren't we beyond this? Nope. Bullying still works. It's the grown-up version of screaming "cooties!" at the top of your lungs. It's meme planting as a high art form, rhetorical deceit, basic propaganda 101.

Here's the condensed version that you will notice on the national level:

"Unite, for we're all Americans. Unite in this time of war. Unite for the sake of our soldiers in the field. Unite against the terrorists. Report all suspicious activity. Unite against those who hate our freedoms. Unite against the evil among us. Unite to hate sin. Unite against the immorality that weakens our resolve to win the war. Unite against the queers, because they threaten our way of life."

What the Michigan Senate needs to realize is that the pending law would only restrict behavior in Michigan public school districts and charter schools--not in churches, not on television or at fund raising dinners, not on the street or public transportation, not on blogs or in newspapers, not in most workplaces. While it might provide some safe space in schools, it'll still be open season just about everywhere else.