Archive for December 2016
This breaks my heart, as I remember all too well what it felt like to be on the receiving end of bullying and harassment when I was in school. I remember being in elementary school, when kids made fun of me for going to the Resource Room. I remember being in middle school, when classmates mocked my stutter. I remember being in high school, when the male students who sat behind me in science class passed me sexually harassing notes. These and other incidents created huge damage to my self-esteem; and yet they were minor compared to the horrific bullying and harassment that has been happening in American schools since Election Day.
Typically, I make a rule not to post anything of a political nature on my blog, and I thought long and hard about whether or not to write about my thoughts concerning the rise of school bullying since the election. Eventually, I decided that it would be appropriate to write about this topic, as I am not criticizing the President-elect’s political views, but his behavior. I also felt that it was important to send out a message of hope and reassurance to any of my readers who have been harassed since the election, especially on the basis of disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
First of all, I would like to reassure all of my readers that just because a bully got elected, it does NOT suddenly mean that bullying, harassment, bigotry, misogyny, ableism and assault are now acceptable. While it can be tempting to conclude from the results of this election that bullying is the way to get what you want, it is important to remember that there were a number of factors that led to this election turning out the way it did. Many of these factors include low voter turnout, dissatisfaction at the current state of our country, false news stories being spread via social media, and the inability of the Democratic party to nominate a candidate who appealed to young voters and racial minorities the way Barack Obama did. People did not vote for Donald Trump because he is a bully, they voted for him despite him being a bully. Despite what some may believe, there was never any question as to whether it was acceptable for Donald to bully people with disabilities. Everyone universally believed he was wrong to do so. Rather, the question was, “Does the fact that he bullied a disabled man make him unqualified to be president?” As it turned out, enough people answered “no” that he got elected. This makes me sad and disheartened, and it may make you feel the same way. However, keep in mind that people had a variety of reasons for voting the way they did, and just because they voted for Donald does not mean that they condone all of his behaviors. All voters, whether they voted for Donald, Hillary, or someone else, weighed the various issues and made their decision based on what was the most important to them. For me, the most important issues this election were disability rights and anti-bullying. For other people, the issues of insurance or campaign finance reform were more important.
Secondly, it is important to remember that although Donald won the electoral college, Hillary won the popular vote. She received 2.5 million more votes than he did, and he is only going to be President because of a technicality in our Constitution. And let’s not forget that half of Americans eligible to vote chose not to vote in this election. When you combine them with the people who voted for Hillary as well as the people who voted for Gary Johnson or another candidate, the results show that over 75% of Americans did NOT vote for Donald Trump. Therefore, 75% of Americans chose NOT to let a bully become President. Keep that in mind.
Finally, I am going to redirect you to a blog article that I wrote last autumn, entitled “Your Life Matters.” I thought it was appropriate to post a link to it again, given the current situation in America and around the world.