Bullies in Our Political Culture
Politics is the structure of power in a society. In an ideal world, politics would exercise power to meet the needs of society and to solve its problems for the greatest good. It would be a unifying force, mobilizing the energy and idealism of a people. It would be used to create a better society and to fulfill the stated aspirations of a nations core values and purpose. In such a society, politics is governed by goodwill, justice, and tolerance. The Charter of the United Nations is a blueprint for such government, albeit on a global scale.
In the worst of all worlds, politics uses power for domination and exploitation. It is used to divide people into the the chosen and the the damned. Its most awful expression is slavery and genocide. It goes against the laws that insure survival, prosperity and well-being for a society. In such a society, politics is governed by greed, ideology or religious fanaticism. We have seen all too many cases of such politics in action throughout human history up to the present. In every case, the societies that practiced such politics were led to destruction.
Bullying is all about power and submission. The bully is essentially one who deceives and tries to dominate others because he has no sense of self worth beyond his power over others. Political bullies often seek self-worth by identifying with a broadly accepted political or religious doctrine and then twisting it for the purpose of controlling or hurting others, and to legitimize their actions. They are so aggressive because they are trying to prove a lie.
When politicians try to combat bullies by using the tactics of the bullies, they become bullies themselves. In the current political contest for President of the United States the bullies have set the tone of the campaign. They have inundated the electorate with deception and fear and have turned the contest from a positive debate about what can unite our country and improve our future to a play of prejudice, fear, attacks, and tough talk.
In a bizarre example of such political tactics the Republican National Committee did a mass mailing of a political flyer to West Virginia and Arkansas that suggests that Democratic officials want to ban the Bible. Reacting to this, Senator Robert Byrd (DW.VA) said on the floor of the Senate, (September 30, 2004):
Such tactics divert peoples thoughts and feelings from the real issues that ought to be rationally and truthfully considered in choosing the next President for the future good of our nation.
So why must bullies set the political agenda if the majority of people are basically good and not to be feared? Bullies are like viruses that need to constantly reproduce in the imaginations of vulnerable people to sustain themselves. They feed on fear and selfishness so they need to grow these cultures in peoples psychology. Bullies bear children called fear, hatred, vengeance, and intolerance.
Why are the political leaders, who should lead by example, putting the people under a cloud of pessimism and suspicion? Why are the malevolent few sapping the resources of the benevolent many? Why do we empower politicians who are bullies, and become willing allies to their fanaticism? Why do they lead us into turning our love of country or religious faiths into weapons of destruction and justify a foreign policy that makes us no better than the bullies we oppose?
We are at a crisis point in human history. Do the out-dated politicians set the agenda or does humanity respond to the innate human drive for unity and brotherhood? Political parties are backwards in terms of basic wisdom even though they have a lot of know-how. This is the fault of the power holders using a mentality left over from the dark ages of history that does not fit current human development and awareness. They divide people rather than build the cooperation needed to solve the urgent needs of the one human family and the planet.
If we journey beyond our planet in our imagination and view the 6.3 billion inhabitants from afar, we will note that virtually all human beings regardless of race, religion, or nationality are seeking the same thing out of life and community. They want to live in peace, have families, laugh, celebrate the milestones of life, and have health, time to enjoy beauty and pleasure in their lives. In ones life one encounters hundreds of thousands of people of whom very few do not exhibit the qualities of goodness.
In a new political culture we have to think beyond parties, ideologies and religious doctrines. We need to recognize and support the efforts of the many who work for unity and human progress. We need to acknowledge and support the ideas and activities which promote justice, human rights, and sustainable economies without prejudice or bias. Only bullies who exist in the bubble of their selfishness and fears feel threatened by such efforts and do not support them.
is a vision for an ideal world which already exists as an alternative
to the bullying mentality. It is a hopeful world, parallel to the brutal
one which dominates the evening news and stimulates our fears. As long
ago as the end of World War II there was a recognition throughout the
world, led by the great powers of the time, that all people need to
help each other, respect each other and contribute to the well-being
of the planet. This recognition resulted in the establishment of the
United Nations. Its purpose was to save succeeding generations
from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold
sorrow to mankind. This was, and continues to be, a movement embraced
by the majority of nations, and is the last, best hope for humanity.
It is a shame that because of bullies in positions of leadership, we
have not yet accomplished the dream that our parents and grandparents
generations established for us in their wisdom.
© 2004 Richard Sidy