Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Election 2010: The Attack Of The Bullies

We've never seen or heard of any year ever where bullying has made its effects felt throughout every corner of American life the way it has done this year. Whether they're teenaged and gay, or it's a hate crime of a different nature, the bullies seem to be out in force lately. Crime statistics unfortunately support our contention.

Particularly in some political races, the bully mindset has become almost  acceptable this year - but it had yet to cross over into physical violence, until Monday night.

In case you missed it, on Monday night, prior to the final debate for the Kentucky U.S. Senate seat between GOP candidate Rand Paul and Democratic candidate Jack Conway, a GOP supporter - one of Mr. Paul's own campaign coordinators, who was also a local Kentucky Republican party official - physically attacked a Democratic supporter of Mr. Paul's opponent, who was attempting to get the attention of Mr. Paul. The primary assailant had help from several other not-yet officially identified Republicans, who held, pushed, and eventually stomped on the head of the Democratic supporter. The victim later ended up in the hospital with severe bruises, a sprain, and a concussion.

The bullying hasn't stopped there.

On Tuesday, NPR received a bomb threat with the apparent goal of scaring or silencing them in the wake of firing commentator Juan Williams. Cartoonist Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press also received a similar bullying attempt from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and his rabid audience, who obviously didn't see the irony in attempting to silence the free speech of a cartoonist, who drew a cartoon about Mr. Williams' job-ending gaffe.

We're well aware of the opinions of many people around the country on both ends of the political spectrum. Many of them are of the opinion that President Obama and the Democrats have allowed the Republicans and Tea Partiers to bully the Democrats around. Many Tea Partiers also hold similar opinions of the Republican party as weaklings, unwilling to stand up for the views of those on the far right.

Unfortunately, these are just the latest attempts this year in the U.S. to use fear and intimidation to gain political advantage. There have been too many bullying political ads to count. A large number of clergy bullied from their pulpits this fall too, in direct violation of Federal laws. And an enraged listener of Glenn Beck was stopped in California earlier this year on his way to massacre people at a progressive-allied group.

We're aware that Americans have violently differing opinions on topics ranging from taxes to religion, and from abortion to euthanasia. For all that, though, it's not just a quaint idea that we should be able to agree to disagree in a civil way.

If we cannot treat each other civilly, the government DOES have the authority to step in and stop the bullying, the assaults, and the violence.

As we've said already once this year, enough is enough.

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