Friday, July 20, 2007

The Modern Bully Pulpit

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Bully Pulpit.” Indeed it is in the hands of a bully these days. In fact, it’s in the hands of a bully in a gang of bullies. The level of civil discourse has descended into incivility, largely because the bullies have held the pulpit, and have been using it to smash down all notions of fairness and fair play. Folks take their cue from the alleged leadership, and POW, people become uncivil. This unfortunately includes myself.

I made two mistakes in judgment. One was to keep silent too long in the face of bullies. The other was not to do any homework before engaging one on-line. As far as the administration is concerned, the homework has been piling up for years, and there’s a great wealth of standards to apply to it, namely, the Constitution. Engagement of the administration bullies for my part, has taken place on blogs, emails and phone calls to various legislators over the years. But social, non-presidential bullies are altogether an entirely different story. No standards. Commonly called trolls. Others on-line are not percieved as trolls if they are ensconced in a cyber spot. Care must be taken with those types, and I was hasty.

First what exactly am I talking about when I say “bully?” Someone who meets this kind of criteria. Surely Bush and Cheney fit into those characteristics. If one blogs on political sites like I do, or even other social networking sites like MySpace, one encounters this online.

Bullies of yesterday are different than today’s…

These kinds of bullies one should not tackle lightly. There are three steps one should take,
and I took none of them. (Substitute “online” for “work”, forget the legal remedies, and you get the idea.) Frankly, I reached an emotional boiling point, and unprepared, launched off about someone who is a bully in my opinion on a thread on a blog.

Am I sorry about that? Yes. I do not believe in personal attacks. I believe in moving folks behavior through personal example, and in that episode, I was not an example. I failed. Lesson learned. Particularly since I have now done my homework about the three steps.

Do I feel better about writing words I had thought, but not expressed before? Yes. Would I do this differently after this experience? Yes. Am I sorry I did it? No. And that’s where the rubber hits the road. Bullies must be stopped. It must be done intelligently vs. emotionally.

Some bullies meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Not all bullies will meet all five criteria in your on-line experience, but it’s enough to say, a bully is a bully. We’ve all seen enough of it from this administration to know, fancy words or not, it’s by their actions (and words) that you know them.

Use the three steps on whatever bullies you see in your life; Regain Control, Plan for Action, Take Action