Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

How do we bully proof our country??

On Friday I substituted in a local school in the fourth grade.   While I was there, during what is known as Focus Groups sessions, another teacher came to teach Lesson 1 in their “Bully Proofing Our School” unit.  This unit has been around for years and I used it before.  

It got me to wondering.  How can we bully proof our adult citizenry?  

   As I have told many of you, I live in the shadow of Focus on the Family, a few miles down the road from Ted Haggard’s old haunt, the “New Life Church.”  In the 80s these two men, Haggard and Dobson, sent out their drones to bully public school teachers.

  I was teaching a wonderful unit at the time.  It was called “Voyage of the Mimi.”  It was an interdisciplinary unit, using the latest technology, video etc.  It has a story shown in thirteen videos which ran fifteen minutes each.  Ben Afleck played the little boy. He was visiting his grandfather who rented out his house boat to a science team.  The team consisted of an African American teen boy, a Caucasian teen girl, a female lead scientist, a Hispanic scientist and a college student who happened to be deaf.  They were studying humpback whales. Each episode in the adventure was followed by a 15 minute science segment.   Some were on whales, one was on Gallaudet University, one was on SONAR.   I learned as much as I taught.  Oh yea, there was one triangulation, the science of locating a point, not the political buzz word. We even had softward for the old Apple IIs where we could triangulate. 8)

   One of the science segments was on the evolution of the whale, from it’s land ancestors to how it became a water mammal.   And of course, a few parents enamoured with Haggard or Dobson or both, tried to bully the district and the teachers into teaching creationism along side the evolution.

The district “encouraged” us to do so (they would not demand because our local teachers’ union was ready to fight it).   I refused.

   Another time a mother came in screaming at me that I was teaching the religion of witches.  It was Halloween and I had the kids doing a creative writing project on silly spells… making the grocery cart wheels lock.    Again I refused.  But a group of those parents organized and bullied our district into outlawing Halloween Parties.  The district now has “Harvest Parties” and kids must dress up (if they choose to) as a literary character.  Another time I was told loudly by a parent that her child “was a Christian and Christians do not lie.”  I had caught the child copy another students paper…..she had the kids paper on her desk. I saw it. I looked at her paper.  Her answers were word for word copied.  

   These are the same families who now go to tea parties, carry guns and shout anyone down who does not adhere to their world view.  These are the people who watch television bullies like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity, and listen to the biggest (literally and figuratively) bully of them all, Rush.

   I am frustrated.  So maybe this is more of a rant than a diary.  But how do we bully proof our country?   When the leaders of the right tell their drones to do exactly what they say, shout down, threaten and fear monger with lies, how do we stop it?  Parents here are demanding the district not broadcast the president’s speech. Fortunately the district is leaving it up to principals.  I am subbing on Tuesday at a school where I think the principal will show it.  But no doubt some kids will not be watching.  What is wrong with us.  What is wrong with the left? What is wrong with our leadership as I believe they are allowing the bullies to……bully.  

   I was for Hillary.  I honestly did not feel she and Obama were much different when it came to policy.   I actually felt Hillary was more left than Barack except on Iraq.  But the one thing I thought made Hillary a better choice is that she lived through years and years of their neocon bullies and had learned, I believe, to not try to appease fools who have no interest in bipartisanship of any kind.  Bullies do not want to share power.  They want it all.  

 I cannot believe how far backward we have come.  It started with Reagan, a classic bully with a silver tongue, and I fear now, it cannot be stopped.


  1. is to stand up to them. It can get you hurt, but so can letting them have their way. Bullies hate it when someone stands up to them. They lose all their power. That’s why Glenn Beck is so freaked out about the boycott that Color Of Change launched.

    The main tactic for the Right in this country is to act the bully. It has been that way for quite awhile now. I think that is one reason the Democrats keep giving in to them. They’ve actually acquired a victim’s personality. They’ve been bullied into acquiescence so many times that it has become a habit.

    The Democratic Party is like a losing sports team. Take the Detroit Lions, for instance. (please, pretty please…) They’ve had losing teams for so long that they now expect to lose and hence find a way to lose even when they should win. The only way out of that dilemma is to change personnel and get a new leader. If the preseason is any indicator, they may have finally found their way out of that losing mindset.

    The Dems have the new leader, but the players are pretty much the same. We need more politicians with some backbone, like Jim Webb or Nancy Pelosi. We need to get rid of the appeasers like Harry Reid. And, yes, I did say Nancy Pelosi has a backbone. I think she gets less credit than she deserves.

  2. Jjc2008

    I know what you are saying is true.  I teach it all the time.  Kids should not become bullies to beat the bullies.

    But our leaders can and need to stand stronger, firmer, and do the right thing.

  3. is that they give people opportunities to find their own strength.

    This is one of the things that I will likely revolve around all my life.  Having been extremely bullied as a kid I want no child to ever go through the same thing.  But that same experience is what forced me early in life to find my own voice and my own strength and without it I absolutely would not be who I am today.

    This is a sub-topic to the larger “how do we safe the world?” thread.  There are answers to all of the component topics – and we as a species are busy working on all of them –  but it leaves another question unanswered: are we better off never facing real risk?

    Last year when I was leading with my face and name battling for my political point of view and my brother was beginning to worry about my personal safety we got into a conversation on topic.  He said something that I can’t avoid coming back to when I think about this:  “The best thing (bully’s name redacted) ever did in his life was you.”  No matter how I twist it I can’t help but realize that he is right – the childhood bully who tortured, beat and humiliated me for years was the most important teacher in my life.

    I have no idea what my recommendations for society are, but bullies and other risks certainly give us the chance to be better people than we were before.

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