Vail Daily letter: Bullies are dangerous
I recall a candidate in Missouri’s last senatorial election who kept saying stupid things like women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. Now, I’m not from Missouri. And, normally, I wouldn’t have intervened in that election. But, a United States Senate seat is an important position and it affects me even though I live in Colorado. So, I did what I thought best. In all the news and social media in which my voice could be heard, I called him out every time he said something stupid. Eventually, he lost the election. I like to think I helped that happen in some small way. Call it a voice in the wilderness.
At a recent rally in Atlanta, this year’s presumed Republican Party nominee for president of the United States said, “And be quiet. … Just please be quiet. Don’t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet … because they (the current Republican leadership — my parentheses) have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself.”
Call it “bullying.” Call it “bossism.” Give it a name if you must. Either way, I expect more from someone who will sooner or later ask me directly for my vote to put him in the most important public job in the free world.
I’m not talking about that everyone is entitled to their opinion. If he thinks Republicans are stupid, and that is his opinion, who am I to say? I’m talking about saying something stupid when you are trying to gain an important public office that affects my life and the lives of my fellow citizens and many people in the whole world. And, saying it in a way that shows me the limitations behind the intelligence behind the words. These are the words of a bully. A bully is a person who, lacking the intelligent force persuasion requires in getting people to see things his way, resorts to slurs, insults, railroading, threats, intimidation or going around or under the objections and concerns of others to achieve his ends. If you fact check that candidate’s track record and follow the trail of his deals, or lacking that, just his Twitter account, you’ll find these are all techniques he employs. I’m not making this stuff up.
I’m not saying he isn’t smart. Obviously, he is. But, let’s just say he’s not up to my standard for what it takes to get my vote for that office. And, if you argue to me, well neither is the other gal, I disagree. She’s smart, too. But, she has something he doesn’t have, the experience in a public job to know what her constituents and adversaries expect to be civil conduct in a modern democracy that doesn’t threaten the fundamental freedoms of the people guaranteed by that people’s governing documents, of which the presumed Republican candidate has shown a liberal, flagrant and consistent ignorance. Yeah, I know. You’ll argue she couldn’t be that smart if she used private channels for her emails connected to her public job, a clear violation of policy, etc. That’s an argument for another time. In fact, I expect, we could have a lot of arguments. I welcome a civil discussion of any and all of them. That’s what democracy is about.
But, bullies are another matter. Bullies are dangerous, especially to a democracy, because they make people afraid. And, when people are scared, the bully can do whatever he wants.
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