Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have gotten into a conversation at FB about a petition drive to get Michelle Bachmann to come out against bullying of gay students.  This drive has its origins in a 2010 suicide in Bachmann's Congressional District that resulted in a lawsuit.  The linked article includes Bachmann's comments about school bullying, which are not exactly the paragon of a definitive statement.  She sounds much too much like politically correct liberals who fear to speak truth lest they offend.

Forty years ago I was a High School senior.  I was harassed by local bullies who asserted, among other things, that I was having sex with my dog.  I was a bookworm and I suspect the bullies thought that equated to being spineless.  I refused to submit and one day threw in some verbal retorts of my own, sans profanity, that struck a nerve.  The next morning the bullies sat behind me on the bus and made sure they slammed my head against the seat rail in front of me.  I guess they thought I'd get their message.  Not really.  I marched into the school office and reported the incident.  That afternoon I was summonsed to the office and advised that the school couldn't guarantee my safety on the bus home, so I should call my parents.

My mother picked me up and our next stop was the police department and an interview with the Juvenile Officer.  Unsurprisingly, the bullies were known entities with a long history of bad behavior.  We were told that the officer would visit the families that evening and let them know that if anything happened to me they would be number one on the police perp parade.  That evening, on my way to the Catholic equivalent of Sunday School, I noticed that the schoolyard at the end of the street where I usually walked my dog was filling up with teenagers.  All were friends of the bullies.  They  were gone by the time I got home.  A patrol car had dispersed them.  That was the end of the bullying.  Evidently they got the police officer's message.

Three years earlier I was attacked in the girls' locker room by a different set.  The Assistant Principal decided I was the instigator, a position he clung to after the ringleader stabbed another student in the stomach days later.  The School Board heard from my parents about that one.

Forty three years have passed since my days in the 9th grade and nothing has changed about bullies aside from their targets.  Judging by some of the reports, including the linked article above, schools are no more effective dealing with bullies now than they were in 1968.  Gays are the target du jour in many places.  They are different, and that difference is treated as being on par with me allegedly having sex with my dog.  Depending on where you live and the local schools you attend, you may or  may not get help to deal with the bullies.

Michelle Bachmann apparently doesn't get it.  She talks about bullying as if it was just a part of growing up.  It may be, but not when you cross the line into vicious verbal attacks or direct physical assault.  Ms. Bachmann, and some of those reacting to my FB post, fail to recognize the impact of implicit, let alone explicit, statements that support bigoted views.   I don't really expect Ms. Bachmann to change her views, or make a supportive statement.  She lives in a world overseen by a divisive God who will only accept gays if they meet specified criteria for entry into the Kingdom.  If God doesn't want them as they are, then why would anyone else who shares her views feel any need to treat them as fully human?  Especially children, who so easily mimic and express the adult perspectives they encounter daily.  Bachmann is engaged in a political campaign to lead all of us, and it helps to know just what she thinks of "all of us."

“Two homosexuals that were holding up my picture this week at the Capitol and shouting that I want to hate people, I walked up to them and said: “I don’t hate you. I love you and the Savior who created you. He loves you, too, can I tell you why? This is not about hating them, this is about loving them into the Kingdom.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News”, hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 20, 2004.

On homosexuality as a mental disorder: “Don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgender. We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, speaking at EdWatch National Education Conference, November 6, 2004.

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