Me, Me, Me, Me…
If you’ve watched the news this week, you’ve probably seen the clip of Trump shoving Dusko Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro aside at the NATO meeting. Looking quite pleased with himself, he was able to move in front for the photo shot. As we’ve seen, if “45” feels slighted or confronted in anyway, his modus operandi is to attack back, viciously; no matter what.
Also this week, you may have heard the video tape of Ben Jacobs, the reporter from the Guardian being attacked by the Republican Greg Gianforte from Montana. He was reportedly body slammed, punched, and his glasses were broken by Gianforte for having asked the Republican two questions about the Healthcare bill. This attack was confirmed by witnesses at the scene. The next day, Gianforte ended up winning the election! President Trump praised Gianforte (after the assault) for the great win in Montana. It was reported that the win may have been due in part to the large number of early voters in the state that had already cast their ballots prior to the incident. Gianforte, in this case, did later apologize to the reporter.
The escalating culture of Violence
I thought about the heightened climate of disregard and disrespect that we live in today; and the contempt that both of these elected officials demonstrated this week. Both examples – To shove another world leader and chastise allies; and in Gianforte’s case, to impulsively attack another without provocation is frightening. It’s frightening because these men were elected. They are the ones who represent us.
It brought home to me how we have normalized violence in its many forms. We regularly watch examples of bullying, vicious verbal attacks, false accusations, attempts to destroy other’s reputations. The truth as evidenced by facts has been twisted and perverted so drastically and so often that while our collective heads have been spinning, we seem to have become more indoctrinated into this culture of violence. Is nothing literally off the table when it comes to “winning”?
This insidious campaign to destabilize democracy whether consciously or unconsciously crafted continues to escalate and includes both indirect and direct breeding of hate and division among democratic populations. We know that the presidential campaign was hijacked by the Russians to favor Trump and damage Clinton. This was done with computer hacking, timed campaign leaks, verbal assaults, and inciting physical violence at rallies. (As an aside, who has “rallies” after the election except for dictators?…)
And yet, there are still those debating this fact, as surely as there are those who continue to question the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change! What’s up is down, wrong is right…and you can’t trust anyone (least of all, yourselves) We get this right? I mean we understand what’s going on?…It seems many do, and some are starting to. Approval ratings for the president have decreased to around 30 something percent, (despite 45’s self aggrandizing tweets to the contrary)
Misogyny, Privilege, and Violence
As evidenced by this week’s news, it appears that our elected “leaders” are no longer just stoking the flames of fear, hate, and division verbally. Our president was seen shoving a prime minister from another country, and Gianforte was physically abusive toward the reporter. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and still elected. These were physical examples of the disregard for, and anger toward others. And, there was the self satisfied smugness and praise for the “win” afterwards.
These events feel so outrageous because these behaviors are being demonstrated by people in the most powerful positions in our country. Powerful, white, rich men, that we ourselves elected. I have to believe that if anyone of a different sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc….behaved in these ways, they would certainly not be in office. In the case of Gianforte, he would be in jail.
Some things to consider:
What would happen to you if you physically assaulted someone?
(What if President Obama was caught on video shoving another country’s prime minister? What if Hillary Clinton was on tape, talking about grabbing men’s genitalia?)
Boy’s will be boy’s.
Locker room talk.
Stop making such a big deal out of it.
I said I was sorry.
What you saw wasn’t what you saw.
You don’t know what you saw.
if you don’t think like me and act like me, then you are the problem for being different.
Your opinions don’t matter.
Who are you to disagree with me?
You don’t matter.
“We” don’t want you here.
You are a threat to me and my power.
You’ve become my enemy…
and on and on…(provoke, incite, provoke, pivot, destroy trust, incite, create division, provoke, encourage violence)
The escalation of abuse
I worry about how our children are being affected by what they observe and experience. They learn how to behave by witnessing how the adults in their lives (and the ones in the media) conduct themselves. When you judge, criticize, berate others, objectify women, demean those who are different from you.. children are watching. They often model what they see whether it be victim or bully. If you are demonstrating that it is okay to do anything to get ahead, or to stay in power.. children are watching.
They are being brought up in this culture of violence. And it should concern us all.
(part 2 of this post continues)..