Bullying, all grown up

office_bully1I googled “bullying”. This is the definition I received, “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Bullying is the opposite of tolerance and acceptance, wouldn’t you say? A bully doesn’t care about their target’s concerns or desires. A bully only wants to inflict their will on the person being bullied. A bully will grab the arm of a smaller kid, twist it, put pressure on it, make it hurt, to get their way, or just for sadistic pleasure.

We have all kinds of support systems for victims of bullying. Our government has even put up a website, http://www.stopbullying.gov/ (I hope it does a better job for those it’s supposed to serve than other infamous government-sponsored web sites I have heard of.) The target of bullying is usually someone who is a fair amount different from the bully: different color of skin, different way of speech, different friends, any number of things. And in all cases of bullying, rightly, the correct thing to do is to strive to stop it, to intervene, to protect the bullied person. We should all be upset at the idea of bullying. We should work to see it ended.

That’s the case on the playground, at school, even in the cyber-world of social media. For some reason, though, it apparently doesn’t apply to conservative adults. The fact that the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was forced to step down from his position because he holds traditional views about marriage makes me mad. That is bullying, pure and simple. His wasn’t a government position, where some could complain about separation of church and state (although that concept has been horribly misconstrued and warped over the years), his position was  Chief Executive Officer of a large company. That’s all, just a guy doing a job. A top level management job, but still, a guy in the workforce, not in government, not even in education.

Militant homosexual activists (I’ll try not to use the word gay, it used to have a totally different meaning, and I don’t recall it ever being put to a vote that that word should be hi-jacked) bullied Mr. Eich into stepping down. You can call it different things, but look at it. A great outcry was focused on him, boycotts against his company were called for, all things to hurt him and the company he worked for. They did everything in their power to get a person who believed differently from them to have to quit his job, and they succeeded. They put pressure on him and Mozilla to force their will.

As far as I know, he hadn’t acted similarly towards them. He hadn’t hurt them. He had spoken his mind and followed his convictions, but I don’t know that he had bullied anyone. But somehow, he’s still the bad guy. In my gut, that does not feel right.

To me, this isn’t even specifically about homosexual vs. not. It’s about militant intolerance. It’s about people being targeted solely for what they believe, when that belief isn’t part of a larger system that intends to do real harm. For instance, if you believe you should kill indiscriminately, and you intend to do so, you should be targeted with some kind of intervention to thwart the effects of your belief. Now if that makes me intolerant, I guess there’s no getting around it. I don’t think it does, though, I think that’s just common sense. But if your beliefs don’t lead to actual harm to anyone, if they are just what forms the basis of how you live your life, no one should target you, no one should bully you, for those beliefs. But it happens, on a very large scale, all throughout our society and somehow it is deemed acceptable by many. That’s wrong. It’s bullying and we should work to stop it, at every level.

There’s plenty more that could be said here. I might even say it at some point, because I certainly have not exhausted this issue. In the meantime, I urge you not to support, even by silence and inaction, militant intolerance of any kind.

One thought on “Bullying, all grown up

  1. Ian_R

    Tolerance is not tolerance anymore. Tolerance is you need to accept our ideals and beliefs, or you are intolerant. People with what you call “traditional beliefs”, like you mentioned, are regarded as the enemy now days. Same goes for what is considered political correctness. You can’t get away with voicing your beliefs if they don’t conform with what may now be considered mainstream. I hear and see this crap in the news all the time and it just infuriates me. Like you said, there is much more that could be said on the topic, but I’ll end it right there.

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