Class of We Made It

Is America a Culture of Bullying?

From reality TV to mud-slinging political ads to slow-roasting in your own anger and bitterness that “those people” are to blame for your own problems, there’s a progression in this country that lacks personal responsibility and embraces finger-pointing.

It’s a condemn-and-retreat culture that not only lacks civility; it lacks courage.

Conversations don’t exist. No one listens. People sit around a table and talk, raising their voices to speak louder so their words are heard over the words of the person yelling next to them. But no one has ears to hear.

Participants on reality shows scheme and scream, and those who are dominant-challenged are voted off. Those with a servant’s heart, or those who offer a hand of mercy and grace are considered weak or suspect. Those with no ulterior motives are not easily understood. These are not the chosen ones.

Those who try to get ahead at work through honesty and hard work are met with others who get by with minimum work, slander, and stepping on rather than stepping up. They are beaten down and beaten up and after giving their lives to their companies, are cast aside.

Folks who want to make significant changes and are innocent and committed enough to enter politics are soon awakened to the slimy arena into which they have stepped. Spattered, bruised and disheartened, they crawl away, shaking their heads, clutching to the dreams of making a difference, maybe in a different venue, one that cares.

So-called churches preach messages of hate and picket those they decide God has punished and are going to hell. I know a teacher in a Christian school who told me that her entire fourth grade class was angry because Obama was elected to a second term.

Really? Where did all that child-anger come from? Children don’t get angry over elections. Adults do. Bullying adults. These folks do not follow Jesus. God is love. Jesus preached love, broke bread with everyone, and came to save everyone – yes, even those who preach hate.

Blog sites are filled with response-rants condemning all Christians, all Muslims, all liberals, all conservatives, all gays, all pro-lifers, all pro-choicers, the list goes on.

Instead of discussing and learning from each other, we fight, we blame, we curse, we accuse, we retaliate. We don’t agree to disagree anymore. And we do this all in front of our kids. No wonder we have a generation of bullies.

We need a culture of strength in humility. One of civility. One which embraces people with inclusion and love even when we disagree with them.  One in which we take responsibility for our speech. One in which we think – and maybe even pray – before words come out of our mouths.

One in which we speak out of good intentions, peaceableness, kindness and graciousness; openness, mercy and a willingness to accomplish something other than hearing our own voices; respect, impartiality, and sincerity.

One in which we ask, not, “What’s wrong with you?” but, “Who needs a little patience, a little grace, a little love, a little time to be heard?”

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