The last in a series of topics. This has been a thought provoking challenge as I have struggled with how do you compare children in Honduras living in poverty with affluent bullies in Colorado? Actually I have only found one comparison but many differences. So let me proceed on with bullies and those who desire to control and manipulate other peoples lives. Personally I would rather not deal with bullies and bring a smile to a child’s face instead; however, bullies are a reality.
When I was doing research on toxic herbicides two questions kept repeatedly coming up. Why do people use highly toxic chemicals to kill weeds while exposing themselves to compounds that will slowly kill them, their children, their pets along with others when they fully understand the risk? Is killing weeds that important? I never found those answers and am still looking for something that would make sense. Comparing children living in poverty in Honduras with affluent members of my own community has been a challenge but what I came up with is why do so many affluent people treat each other as nastily as they do when it is totally unnecessary? Instead of being a bully wouldn’t it be better to bring some happiness to a child that won’t experience it if you don’t do anything? That is something that child will carry with them the rest of their life and what really is important.
The one comparison I found between impoverished children in Honduras and my community is that both are bullied but somewhat differently. In Honduras there are gangs and drug lords that bully impoverished people just because they can. Here in my community there are those that bully their neighbors just because they can. Beyond that however I see a lot of differences. Those in our community bully out of fear that their poorly formulated ideas may be challenged so they build defensive walls and excuses around themselves and come up with a litany of preventions to keep people at arms length. They bully out of being inwardly fearful people themselves. The crime bosses and gangs in poverty stricken areas are already powerful and don’t fear anything. They bully only because they can and no one can stop them. In reality I don’t see much difference between the two; a bully is still a bully.
People in poverty have very little to protect or things that a bully would want, so they pretty much roll with the punches when bullied. They have little to lose if what they have is taken away and are pretty powerless to resist anyway. People of affluence also have little to lose so if they lose a right or freedom or two they too will roll with the punches. They have much so won’t miss a small item or two. In that respect victims are pretty much the same and bullies go on being bolder and bigger bullies. While much recent attention has been drawn to bullies in this country it will have minimal impact as in my experience until people get their nose bloodied and fight back there will continue to be bullies and victims. A bully caves when met with equal or greater force unless they can fight back using your combined money and assets. A outsourced, fully financed bully is unlikely to change and only become more bold like many in our community have done. They have no assets at risk. Aren't covenant communities great? No one likes being a victim of a bully but some allow it to happen and even try to get on the good side of the bully and become a devoted follower.
The difference is that some people learn to accept and tolerate a bully as long as they are doing it to someone else. Better them than me, they say. Trouble is the more latitude you give a bully the more they will take. They will get around to you one day, they just may not have built up their courage to tackle a stronger foe yet. The worst form of bully is the sophisticated type. The kind that can manipulate facts, opinion, and circumstances to control people all to their own advantage. A gang or crime lord is known as a bully and they don't have anything to prove to anyone - only protect their realm. The more sophisticated bully which is what we have in our community is sneakier and more subtle but a bully none the less. The damage they do is reduce people to their level so they don’t have to work on improving or changing themselves. They may have been successful in what they have done and crave personal recognition and respect. They may crave control. The only way they can achieve that is to manipulate and force it from other people, and most have been doing it all their lives. The longer they do it and get away with it the better they become at it. The term "birds of a feather flock together" also applies to bullies. The bully will usually have followers who are either weak themselves or bullies in training. Bullies only have standards that they create and live by, which often is vastly different from a loving caring society. Bullies are good at illusion and use it as a weapon to hide themselves behind. The longer they have been bullies the better they are at deceiving people until the need to hide no longer exists.
So how do you become a follower of a bully? You stop thinking for yourself and let them take the lead. You sense what they do is wrong but you blindly follow them anyway. You suppress your good sense for their flawed sense. You convince yourself that what they say and do is for the greater good and therefore acceptable. You may see them disregard or trample other peoples rights but that too is okay since those who were pushed out of their path were probably weak anyway and deserved it. Some follow a bully for the benefits they will derive from that bully. They will profit or benefit themselves from suppressing someone else. Their motives are strictly selfish. They think they can control the bully but in the end they lose part of themselves and realize how stupid it was to think they could control a bully in the first place. In the meantime they have contributed to a lot of damage and destruction. When a bully takes on the weaker member of a community they take on the entire community and if the majority who may not approve allow it to happen, it undermines and eventually will destroy the good within that community. You will end up with a community like the one we live in where there are factions, splinter groups, secrecy, deception, anger and distrust.
As I told a friend earlier to have a healthy community there has to be open and free exchange of ideas. If as a leader your idea is so good and necessary it should hold up to scrutiny and cross examination. Open dialog could maybe improve it a little or show it up for the poor plan it is. Either way it will benefit the majority and not a minority. A bully will find ways to discredit and cut off honest dialog that may undermine or pose a challenge to their idea, or do a superficial presentation to justify it. Followers of a bully will support a bad idea as long as they are not put at personal risk. Once completed it then becomes a constant reminder and irritant for those excluded from that open and sincere dialog process and promotes anger by having it crammed down your throat. The bully could care less because they got exactly what they wanted and they identify you and your opposition as the enemy.
So the comparison between Honduras and our community is that both have their bullies. One is obvious and apparent and one is more obscure and difficult to identify but with a little effort and using the common sense you have you should be able to figure out who they are. When viewed in their true perspective it is up to you to make the ultimate choice. Will you be a victim, allow others to be victims, a follower, profit from their conduct or will you be a bully yourself. Unfortunately bullies don’t see the bully in themselves but others usually can. Until bullies are identified and made accountable there is no way to improve a community whether it be in Honduras or Colorado. Talking about it won’t solve the problem. It requires action and sometimes strong action. A few bad apples in the barrel spoil the entire barrel. Old but true. It is time to identify and weed out bullies and build a community that is worthy of good people. Let the reader choose. Any situation can be redeemed but it does take combined effort and hard work. Maybe that person you once disagreed with only wants a better community to live in and enjoy too.
Now back to writing less thought provoking and more interesting articles. We have around 600 viewers a week read this blog world wide and my guess is that there is not a part of the world that doesn’t have its bullies and associated problems. Maybe readers will read this and it will provoke some thought and inspire some action.