We all lose when tyrants win

I was on a plane last month for just the second time since the start of 2020, when everything stalled due to the pandemic. I was nervous.

No catching COVID-19 from another passenger. The flight was found to be relatively safe.

Not stealing himself, although I was always a little nervous Nellie about crashing.

No, I was worried that one of my fellow travelers would lose their reason for being forced to wear a mask and terrorize airline staff, which happens with alarming frequency, a deputy recently learned. House committee.

My flight arrived just a few weeks after eating at a favorite local restaurant. Her longtime hostess told me that she cried several times in the bathroom, thanks to rude and authoritative customers berating her, expecting everything to be as it was before its times, which didn’t. is clearly not the case as his restaurant and others are struggling. to find workers.

The country has become a nation of bullies.

I don’t know Amy Peele, a city councilor from Novato, Calif., Who recently resigned her post less than two years ago, but I understand her reasoning for doing so. During her brief time on the board, she was subjected to “constant name-calling, vitriol, shame and toxic comments, and emails from members of our community,” she said.

“People must continue to come forward, speak out and participate in the decision-making process that has an impact on the future of our city. But please, I beg you, we must do this with more respect and civility to our staff, elected officials and other community members, even when we disagree on the issue at hand. study. “

Respect and civility. It shouldn’t be too difficult, right? And yet it is disappearing more and more.

Like Peele, I have been the target of everything but respect and civility. Just look at the comments under any of my columns or when they are posted on Facebook. I don’t take them personally – who would? Still, I wonder why people are so mean. So a few weeks ago I invited one of my always rude reviewers to meet me for a cup of coffee – my treat! – to see if we can find any commonalities, or at least an understanding. I was rejected. Much easier and maybe more satisfying to slam me while being anonymous.

A few months ago, I saw a man throw a ball at his dog on the baseball fields not far from my house and not far from the dedicated three-acre dog park. There were signs everywhere stating that the fields were closed so they could get their restoration if needed between seasons, and that dogs were not allowed. As someone who has washed my boys’ Little League pants for many years, I know all about dog poop stains on white pants. So I gently pointed out that the fields were closed, waving at the signs. He called me a naughty. It is much easier to attack a woman’s sexuality than it is to admit that you are doing something wrong.

We are, of course, only recently emerged from four years of intimidation by our former president, not only of his fellow Republicans, but just about everyone else who disagreed with him or his policies. The sad thing is that bullying works.

In California alone, we have lost 15% of our election officials to threats, including death threats.

Public health officials have resigned over threats; public health workers are not doing much better.

Across the country, many teachers have already quit or are considering quitting, exhausted from bullying. School board members too.

Restaurant workers leave, in part because of abusive customers. Same thing with retail workers.

It is really problematic.

And it’s not just political discourse; almost all talk online is disrespectful and petty. And even in real life. What’s the point ?

We have serious problems to resolve in our country and in the world. How can we approach them if we cannot communicate and listen with an open mind and a caring heart? Who will teach our children, look after our health needs, monitor our elections, serve us a meal or ring our purchases?

We all lose when bullies win. All of us. And it shows kids that bullying will give them what they want, the exact opposite of what most parents and schools teach them. But as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

My offer for a cup of coffee still stands, dear naughty reviewer. I’ll even throw in a local, organic and gluten-free pastry! Don’t worry, however, I refuse to intimidate you.

Vicki Larson is a columnist for The Marin Independent Journal in Novato, California.

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