Don't Rush Me
Anti-Bullying in Lansing is horse puckey
Republicans, Democrats are all the same . . .
November 09, 2011 - So . . . the world is up in arms. Life as we know it will end. Nobody likes us Michiganians, and I know this because all the opinion-mongers (like me), are writing about us in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and anywhere in between. Children will die and it is all the fault of those Republicans who have a seat in the Michigan Senate.
What is all the hubbub?
Bullying and the stupid anti-bullying bill the Michigan senate passed (along party lines) last week. Not that anti-bullying is stupid, just the line in there that says bullying ain't bullying if the bully is only acting on his or her, "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."
What the . . .?
In other words, if I go to Don's Church of the Holy Roller, based on the sacred premise that God only wants rich people in Heaven, it is okay if I pick on homeless folks. Like I said, that would-be law is stupid.
But, in general I think most laws of this type are, well, stupid. I have said it before and I will say it again: You can't legislate what is in somebody's head. If I am a hater, I am gonna' hate regardless of what you tell me I can or cannot do.
Do we need an anti-bullying law? Not really. I believe on the books already are laws against harassing (be it in person, on the phone, mail, etc.), beatings and other parts of "bullying."
I know, you think I don't get "it." "Don," you're probably saying, "you know not what you write about. You're a mountain of a man -- a strapping white lad of fine up bringing, universally loved by all, since the day your bald noggin crowned out of your mother's womb. How can you have any opinion on bullying worthy of debate? You and your fine Clarkston upbringing bring nothing to the table of the downtrodden?"
Oh contrair mon frair (as the would-be French say). I, like the 30 percent of students in grades six through 10, was affected by smackin' frackin' bullies. I can well remember being chased by groups of lads (some bigger and older) than me both in Redford Township and in Clarkston. What makes them memorable is what happened once I made it home, unscathed, in front of the gaggle of goons chasing me.
On two separate occasions, my dear ol' mom marched me back out to face thems who-would-whoop-me. And face them I did. One at a time until they were tired of "bullying" your hero (that would be me).
Call it hillbilly justice, redneck reckoning, lowbrow learning' or Shanty-Irish upbringing. Call it what you want, the idea wasn't for me to whoop the bully, or for the bully to whoop me. It wasn't about whooping at all. It was for me to stand up for myself -- to understand that there will ALWAYS be bullies in life and you cannot run from them.
You gotta face 'em.
Which is something lawmakers, school administrators and new-aged parents don't want to happen. Yep, I truly believe parents have abdicated their responsibilities to the schools, and in order to take on these responsibilities the schools have turned to Big Brother State to mandate more laws. More laws mean more training. More training means more state employees. More training and more state employees means spending more money.
It seems more parents don't want to give the hard lessons of life to their children, because, well, it's just too darned hard (and Junior might get mad). At schools, if a kid tries to defend himself against a gaggle of goons, he or she is punished along with the goons.
We are raising generations of people who will have no idea how to take care of themselves . . . they will turn to the state for all the answers. And, the state will tell them what to think, how to live . . . and here's Don's far-out, science fiction prediction #137: Within the next 50 years the state will raise all children. Parents will have visitation times scheduled regularly.
Back to the anti-bullying bill making its way through Michigan. The problem with all the good intentions in state government is laws are written to be all-encompassing. On the internet, I clicked on a "sample" anti-bullying resolution the state has for school districts to pass. It was seven pages long!
Sometimes I think law makers make things unclear so nobody really knows what the law means. I am a firm believer in "less is more." How about an anti-bullying resolution that is simple? Here is something I want my state representative to bring to the floor instead of the bill there now.
"Frightening, hurting, teasing, threatening, and/or harassing any person for any reason will not be tolerated. Fill in the blank for punishment."
Bottom line, bullying, by anyone -- and that should include our name-calling politicians and pundits -- is never acceptable. I really believe parents need to address this with their kids more than government.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org