Some Opinions

I write so many blog entries in my head that never get committed to pixel. And like anything I write, they aren’t as good when actually written as I think they are when they’re in my head. But here are some thoughts that have been distracting me lately.

1. Bullying is a complicated thing. I don’t really get that from a lot of sources that expect to “Stop Bullying in the Schools!” and focus on educational programs — the kind I lampoon in  The Tanglewood Terror — but I am not likely to be critical because I support their mission. But here’s what’s missing from the discussion: the acknowledgement that we live in a bully culture. We can’t stop bullying in the schools because meanness is hard-wired into the system, folks. Kids don’t bully spontaneously. They learn it from adults.

Lately I have been aware of just how much bullying goes on at all levels. The amount of taunting and jeering in discourse. The public shaming of one another. The mistreatment of marginalized people. It’s got to stop if we expect kids to stop bullying. They learn it from adults.

Do you want to know what I think? I think any discussion of bullying that doesn’t acknowledge straight up that bullying is part of our culture, and that adults in authority do it, is doomed to fail. Because kids aren’t dumb. They’re watching. They know the difference between lip service and actual beliefs.

2. I think we’re moving backwards on gender equity. I was thinking, during a spate of legal assaults on women’s rights, and the accompanying rhetoric that shames and dismisses women for having opinions about their rights, that I’m glad I don’t have a daughter. Then I realized, no, that doesn’t matter. This is the world Byron is growing up in, and it’s bad for him too, to grow up in a world where public figures can savage and brutalize women for speaking their mind about their own rights.

I realize now that I grew up in a good era to be a child, the “Free to Be You and Me,” era, where parents were hyper aware of social justice and tried to raise kids who appreciated and understood one another. I feel like that we’ve given up on that. I honestly think we have lower expectations for kids than we’ve had at any time in my life, and I expected things to kind of keep moving in a forward direction.

3. Neither of these are political opinions. They are human opinions.