When They Go Low

Prejudices, bigotry, misogyny, sexism, discrimination, racism, and put-downs are all forms of bullying. Around since when, the put-down is an especially egregiously harmful form of bullying meant to diminish its target’s self-esteem. To bring them down; to keep them down. Long common to inter-city ghettos, it has of late (or maybe not so late) become a favorite of the Republican Party. Its members reflexively denigrate anyone holding viewpoints different their own. Newt Gingrich, with a little help from the likes of Frank Luntz, brought it with him when he came to Congress. Whether or not it was there before Gingrich, in some form or another, the put-down it has become a fixture of Republican politics. To the extent that red states have become Republican Party ghettos of prejudice, bigotry, misogyny, sexism, discrimination, racism, and put-downs that send bullies like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, James Comer, Ralph Norman, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy, Virginia Foxx, … to Congress. Red states have been ghettos of the big lie since forever.

Put-downs are intended to belittle, humiliate, the person targeted. Trump’s projections are a twist on the put-down, on bullying itself. In them, he accuses his opponents of doing the very things that he has been doing all along; which to his mind, and to the minds of his followers, somehow legitimatizes his own lack of morals, of decency. By projecting his character flaws onto them, Trump seeks to bring the targets of his projections down to his level, even lower if possible. It is all relative. Isn’t it?

Projection can be seen as an externalization of blame. Blaming someone for things they didn’t do is itself a form of bullying. Blaming the victim, more egregious yet, has long been a favorite of Republicans. Somehow, saying that it is the victim’s own fault that they are poor and sick makes the problems with the economy and the healthcare system go away.

Criticizing everything someone does is another twist on the put-down: When Republican officeholders like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Laura Boebert, Ralph Norman, James Comer, Rand Paul, & CO criticize everything President Biden does, beyond putting the president down, they are laying claim to skills and knowledge far beyond their ken; hoping to convince someone that President Biden is at least as dumb as they are when, in fact, they are but validating the adage,

“Any damned fool can criticize.”

In criticizing world-renowned expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, Rand Paul was laying claim to expertise not his own. When Lauren Boebert criticizes President Biden, she’s reading from a script of which she obviously has little or no understanding. Both do so with the implicit hope that criticizing those more capable makes them look smart in the eyes of their constituents. Any damned fool can …..

There’s nothing new with James Comer, Ralph Norman, et al using their congressional committee positions as bullying pulpits. Before them, doing so was the raison d’être for Darryl Issa, Trey Gowdy, and Jim Jordan (their now bully boss).

The House Freedom Caucus bullies America by way of putting pressure on House Republican leadership. Their goofy arsed ‘our way or no way’ has been the major cause of congressional dysfunction since they were the Tea Party. Bullying is the only thing Jordan, Comer, Norman, Roy, Greene, Gaetz, et al bring to Congress; all they know how to do. Collectively: They have zero interest in making government work. Bring no expertise. Are there to bring the government down.

In red states, Republicans tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, pass anti-LGBTQ laws, and ban certain books and subject matters from schools and public libraries. These are very egregious forms of bullying. In many of these same red states, we see loudmouth right-wing bullies at school board meetings bully school districts into approving their minority positions on such things as anti-LGBTQ rules, and the banning of certain books and subject matters from schools; positions that themselves amount to bullying.

After the 2020 election, Trump attempted (with some success) to bully red state state legislators and other state officials into abetting his bullying of Mike Pence, and the House and Senate, into overturning the election.

Since forever, arms merchants, aka Merchants of Death, have sown the seeds of war for profit. Often selling weapons to both sides in conflicts between starving protagonists. Nothing lower is known to humankind. American Merchants of Death made a killing during our own Civil War. After WWII, Korea, Vietnam, especially after Vietnam, by 1971, Americans had little appetite for war. Shutout of foreign markets by price and foreseeing a long dry spell, America’s Merchants of Death groomed up the National Rifle Association (NRA) for a big push to sell arms in large quantities to Americans. In turn, with a little help from the Federalist Society, the NRA groomed up (bought and paid for) the Supreme Court for the big marketing push. As night follows day; followed one of the greatest marketing success stories of all time. American Merchants of Death sold millions of weapons of war to American civilians. As predictably as night follows day; followed the mass shootings. In America, selling arms for slaughter of other humans has come home to roost. Thanks for the bullying and all the dead children, NRA and Federalist Society; may you both rot in hell. Good night and good riddance, Justice Scalia; wherever you are.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde County Texas, assembled groups of law enforcement did nothing for one hour and fourteen minutes after reaching Robb Elementary School where a mass shooting was taking place. Nothing because they were afraid of the weapon the shooter was using. AR-15 owners know this well. That is why they buy them. AR-15s are specifically designed to quickly kill a lot of people. i.e., for mass shootings. They are mass shooters’ weapon of choice. The Heller Decision enabled both bullying with guns, and, in turn, mass shootings. The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Goofy Bastards everywhere were enabled by the Heller Decision. Clarence Thomas’ latest interpretation of The Second further enables this bullying of the nation by gun nuts and gun manufacturers. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, and their fellow political hack justices use their particular interpretation of the Constitution to bully America. Instead of legal scholars for Justices, we have justices on the Supreme Court who pull decisions from their ideology. Instead of legal scholars, we have appointed six water carriers for the Republican Party to the Supreme Court. Thanks, Mitch McConnell for all the death and carnage; may you soon rot in hell.

For more than a decade now, Social Media has been the latest and greatest bullying tool ever. A veritable scourge, it has been used on a scale ranging from kids using it to bully other kids, to the incitement of intranational genocide. With consequences from the annoying to painful, from painful to catastrophic; bigots, religious sects, ethnic groups, political extremists, homophobic groups, … everywhere have taken to using Social Media. They have done so because it is sooo damned effective. For more than a decade now, individually and collectively, governments haven’t been able to even catch up with, let alone corral, Social Media. To Trump and his followers, Social Media is both a tool for bullying and a conduit for spreading fake news.

March 19, 2023, Trump announced that an indictment by the Manhattan grand jury was pending. Since then, Fox News, using the full power of its ratings, has been bullying the Manhattan grand Jury, the Manhattan District Attorney, and the Nation into not prosecuting Former President Trump. Fox has millions and millions of viewers who enjoy watching bullies and being lied to.