“We all lose when bullying and personal attacks become a substitute for genuine conversation and principled disagreement” (Alicia Garza, founder of International Black Lives Matter).

Bullies thrive in an environment where people either become victims of their abuse or stand behind them as part of the gang. The more people line up behind them, the more powerful they become. And power is what they crave, refusing to accept the consequences of their actions unless forced by some authority figure like a teacher or police officer. Even then, they will go kicking and screaming at the indignity of being held accountable for their behavior.

Mitch McConnell understands the power bullies have and has found the value of using the most public bully our nation has seen beyond the sports arenas to keep his party in line. To be sure, McConnell began his political bullying long before Donald Trump took control of the Republican Party. But in Trump, he has a willing accomplice despite the vitriolic attacks from Trump he must endure from time to time.

Under McConnell’s leadership and Trump’s cover, the GOP has turned from the party of “law-and-order” to the party of threatening language and violent imagery. With few exceptions, Republican members of Congress not only refuse to hold their colleagues accountable for their anti-democratic or hostile actions, they respond with their own threats of more egregious actions once returned to power. It is almost like echoes of the schoolyard bully who is finally stood up to, warning of far more damaging repercussions to come if not given his or her way.

To be clear, we are not talking about the tit-for-tat we’ve all become accustomed to in American politics found on the Sunday morning shows where Democrats and Republicans take turns telling the moderator how the other party is going to destroy the country. Posting a doctored video showing a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Paul Gosar) murdering a colleague and attempting to murder the president is bullying. And defending such behavior is choosing sides with the bully.

But the bullying hasn’t been limited to individual members making poor social media choices. In response to the move to censure Gosar, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy roared a threat to censure Democratic members if his party again has the majority in the House. He follows the example set by McConnell, who repeatedly warned Democrats that modifying or eliminating the filibuster would result in a scorched-earth policy by Republicans once returned to power.

The two Republican bullies stand united.

Lost in all the threats is taking care of the American people. Democrats are debating with Republicans about how to secure voting rights, health care, reproductive rights, tax reform and Covid-19 protocols in the face of a unified front against any improvement, thanks to the 60-vote threshold necessary because of the filibuster. Rather than engage to help Americans struggling due to tax laws driving up the deficit while rewarding the wealthiest passed under their control, Republicans threaten to further damage our economy and safety-net programs as retaliation while they continually stand in the way of progress on any issue.

This bullying is not limited to our national politics but has become an issue for state and county health department officials. Both Dr. Lee Norman, the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, and Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services resigned within the past year. Neither has given a reason (though Dr. Norman claims in a KCUR interview that he was “Faucied”), nor has either of the governors’ offices. In addition, one-third of Kansas county health department officers have left public service. How much bullying have these public health officers had to endure is an open question as their professional ethics often keep them silent.

Even local school boards have become the target of bullying parents who demand the right to send their children to school unmasked and unvaccinated despite the deadly risks to those around them. Videos abound of parents threatening school board members and health officials who implement and enforce protective health protocols in their schools.

In all cases, bullies want to take power they have not earned through force or threat of force. Their goal is selfish and often wreaks havoc on their community, whether that is their fellow students on the playground, the state health department or the U.S. Congress that serves us all.

Senator McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy have not earned the power of control of Congress, so they have chosen to bully their colleagues and the American people. We have a choice between standing behind the bullies and becoming part of the gang, or standing up to them with our community and country to deny them the power they so desperately seek.

Choose wisely.

(12) comments

Elrod

Gary, your such so liar. You say only Republicans are mass murderers, and I went through and looked up registered democrats in mass murders 1984 James Hubert killed 22 people 1986 Patrick Sherrill killed 15 people in 1990 James Pough Killed 10 people George Hennard 1991 killed 23 people James Simpson 1995 killed five people Larry Ashbrook 1999 killed eight people Douglas Williams 2003 killed seven people Seums Hui Cho Killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, and there are many more registered Democrats that are mass murders. So you need to stop lying about everything being only Republicans

Gary Lukert

Nearly every Republican Politician is a Bully! That's their "way of life!" Also...all Republicans: Every Mass Shooter in the last, at least 50 years has been a Republican! Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber was a REPUBLICAN! Republicans LOVE Murder! Today's Republican Politicians are TALIBAN WANNABEES!

MWS

This guy wrote an article on bullying and did not mention BLM looting cities, the Teacher's unions wanting parents investigated as terrorists, the DOJ and FBI locking up capital trespassers in solitary confinement for months, Antifa pulling down statues and burning down cities, Biden's vaccine mandate attacks against the unvaxxed, Democrats fabricating racism (Wallace & Somett) to bully white people, mask mandates for kids with no scientific documentation, pushing transgenderism on society with no scientific documentation? Really.

sarelon

Your whole comment was 100% 'whataboutism' and has nothing to do with the subject being discussed.

bobinberea

Against my better judgment, I'll take the bait.

"Antifa pulling down statues and burning down cities..."--I wasn't aware that any U.S. cities had been burned down by anyone recently. Could you name a few examples? Cite credible sources?

"Democrats fabricating racism (Wallace & Somett)..."--Are you saying that racism doesn't exist? Or that maybe it does, but only to the extent that Democrats "fabricated" it, and therefore it doesn't really exist after all? I'm confused--please enlighten me. And can you explain "Wallace & Somett"? I've Googled for "Wallace," for "Somett," and for "Wallace & Somett," but I can't find anything enlightening on any of these.

Rationa1

I will be surprised if MWS provides any sort of documentation. They have a bad habit of speaking in broad (and wrong) generalities and, well, bullying anyone who disagrees.Perhaps it is one of the reasons they are posting on this article: if the rest of us understand bullying and are able to see it for what it is, MWS's approach to these boards will be less effective.

MWS

Last summer 504 cities in the U.S. suffered from rioting, arson and looting by Antifa & BLM. Over 2 Billion in damages. Is that enough bullying for you?

Rationa1

Merry Christmas, MWS

bobinberea

"Last summer 504 cities in the U.S. suffered from rioting, arson and looting by Antifa & BLM. Over 2 Billion in damages."

--Got any credible sources to back up these extraordinary claims?

--Earlier you claimed that cities had been burned down. Now you merely assert "arson." Are you suggesting that "arson" and "burning down cities" are the same thing?

Gary Lukert

Those were all Republicans posing as BLM!

Gary Lukert

REPUBLICANS KILLED 6 CAPITOL POLICE ON JANUARY 6TH. And,

Republicans..other than praising them as Patriots...don't mention them!

Gary Lukert

Yes, now...it is accepted when Republican Congressional Representatives call for the Murder of Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Pence. Also, nearly every Republican Politician supports their Republicans MURDERING 6 Capitol Police on January 6th! Prior to that, those Same Republican Politicians overwhelmingly Supported Police in the United States Murdering Black men who were hand and leg cuffed. They were overwhelmingly in support of that policeman who murdered George Floyd--while he was totally secured WHILE laying on the cement!

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