Bullying Must Be Working

Impunity Politics

Marble Falls        From what I read; it’s getting rougher out there.  Bullying has always been a problem in the schoolyard since time immemorial.  With social media, all stops are off with teens, women, and anyone even slightly different than the herd.   Those of us now long grown can be thankful that we escaped the ubiquitousness of phones equipped with I-spy cameras at every turn.

As bad as bullying is for the young, it seems to have become part of the wider culture, both domestically and globally.  For example, the Paris-based nonprofit, Reporters Without Borders, says that in the last two years alone more than 520 journalists have been imprisoned worldwide.  The Wall Street Journal notes that their Russian reporter has now been in jail for one full year, despite the fact that they have campaigned relentlessly for his release.  They certainly aren’t alone because autocratic governments are routinely shutting news outlets that they don’t like.

It’s not just the other guys outside our borders.

We have former President Donald Trump to thank for a lot of this in the United States.  He’s certainly not alone, but he’s the leader of the pack.  Now that he spends so much of his time – and money – in court, he has been on the warpath about judges.  Since he began his increasingly hostile attacks on judges, The Washington Post reports that “threats against federal judges have more than doubled, from 224 in 2021 to 457 in 2023, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.”  In some courts, it has gotten so bad that he has been put on either full or modified gag orders by judges for attacks on them and even their clerks and other employees.

As bully-in-chief, Trump has made a dark art of name-calling, but physical threats are part of the package for him as well, once he gets wound up on the hustings.  He’s circulating cartoons on his social media, reportedly of Biden being hogtied.  You know how it goes, right?  Sell Bibles out of one hand, and use the other to scroll and troll out Twitter-type screeds.  His base supposedly loves this show, but it’s a little like January 6th.  Where does his provocation begin and the violence that comes next end?

It used to be the parental guidance for generations, including my own, that you have to slap back at a bully to get them to stop, because they are cowards at heart.  Been there, done that, but there’s no sign of that working when it comes to nation states or political candidates, it seems.  Trump’s ride-or-die with me approach has brought the Republican Party and much of Congress to its knees, spouting denialism even as they cower in their own shadows.  Slapping back gets you living back in beautiful Wyoming or walking away as Senate Majority Leader with footprints on your rear.  Of course, if you are a billionaire reportedly you just tut-tut through it in hopes that he will give you another tax break, the heck with the country, the environment, and the devil takes the hindmost.

How can this possible end well?