Monty was the new kid.
Monty was bigger than every kid in fourth grade. Hell he was bigger than the sixth graders as just a fourth grader.
But he was new.
And he was big.
We were all taken aback when he showed up in Mr. Stork’s class that fall morning.
“Did you see that kid?” came the whispers.
“Someone said he has underarm hair,” we gossiped.
We loved gossiping in a small town.
“I bet he’s taller than my dad,” said my friend Brian.
We didn’t even know him yet but he was big and he was new. And we were intimidated.
His bullying was short lived though because many of us in the small town of Sonoma had known each other since nursery school, we weren’t going to side too long with a new bully just because he could push around kids who maybe we thought deserved it.
But Monty didn’t know this so he had to try. It’s what bullies do.
We’ve just been bullied
(yes, all of us)
It’s better we admit it sooner than later. Oh sure, there are some on Twitter and Reddit feeds who don’t want to admit it, they think they chose their position willingly, but they’re fighting a losing battle — because they’re fighting history.
It already happened, whether you like it or not.
Think Anthony Fauci did a great job advising pandemic policy? You’ve been bullied.
Think he should be strung up by the short hairs and answer for his flip flopping? You’ve been bullied too.
We all got bullied.
We got pushed into losing or chafing long term friends and yes even family members by people and bureaucrats who thought nothing of torching the social fabric for a greater good.
Or maybe they didn’t think at all.
Were our leaders these past two years acting out of genuine concern, simple incompetence, or with intentions nefarious?
That’s for a different post.
This is about us healing. And the first step is admitting.
Admitting we got bullied by an incessant news stream sounding incessantly fearful before we even new what we were dealing with.
It might be bad so it already IS bad!
And did we get bullied for a good reason, like for standing up for our little sis at the bus stop?
For a slam on our mom’s good name or for standing for a religion or an oppressed group or against tyranny or genocide?
Something important like that?
We got bullied over masks.
Over a virus — hold on now — over a virus that according to the cdc if we remove the comorbidities killed as many people as in a bad flu season.
Over a vaccine that’s so effective you need to get a booster every six months to make up for its’ low efficacy.
Whoa — are you falling back into your rut and want to check my tweets for Joe Rogan mentions?
Watch this recent SNL sketch, it says it all:
The reason the sketch is funny is because like all good comedy it’s ridiculous but also true.
We acted like that. Sure we’re all on different parts of the spectrum but we did.
At some point over the past two years I’d be willing to bet ninety nine percent of us can surely find ourselves in at least one character around that table.
If we didn’t say any of those things we thought them.
That’s why we laughed at the sketch.
The reason we need to admit this is because both sides got bullied, even just starting with choosing sides.
Why the heck would we want to split up into sides during a dangerous pandemic!
Nobody wants anyone to die and it should go without saying. We prove it every day when we stop at red lights and go on green. When we navigate parking at Home Depot on a Saturday, or obey the order of a busy airport.
We were bullied into two camps before we could even get our bearings.
Look, if you grabbed on early to the need for caution good for you. You did everything asked, you stayed home and came out at eight o’clock every night to howl for hospital workers. I heard the howls too.
But it was mostly unnecessary.
Whether you enjoyed it or not is irrelevant. Is your garden thriving? Great. Jobs didn’t need to be lost by the millions for you to spend more time gardening. Or to get to know your neighbor or to finally build that addition in the backyard.
Great if it happened but you were bullied into believing it was the only way.
Multiple countries’ results have proven it wasn’t the only way.
And on the other side of the response you too were bullied. If you believed the goal the first two weeks was a good one — to flatten Sars-CV2’s viral reach but then you advocated in the following months for a return to normalcy, whether regarding businesses, school re-openings, or just socially, you were bullied.
I know because that was me.
I was slandered by my own family.
I don’t need to detail it but I watched how quickly my reputation of being rational and mostly truth-seeking for 40-something years somehow didn’t matter because apparently I wanted grandparents to die.
History won’t be kind to the things we thought about each other.
But we all got bullied.
We got bullied by truths and falsehoods and half-truths and yes probably some lies. That’s why it’s been so damaging. It’s damaging because some truths and some exaggerations got lumped together with some lies and the average person didn’t have the desire to sort them out.
Still don’t believe me?
Maybe you’ll recognize you were bullied by seeing who bullied you.
How do we know a bully? Well for starters bullies fall hard, so let’s see if these folks fit the bill — their name as well as their fall:
As I’ve alluded to don’t shoot the messenger and get fired up because I mentioned someone you thought “handled the pandemic well.” The leaders listed are bullies whether we voted for them or against them.
If it walks like a duck. . .
Bullies can’t hide their bullying traits for very long. An adult bully may be able to tone it down for a time but really they’re just waiting for their moment — they’re dying for it in fact — to beat their chest again and regain that initial thrill of knowing they can and will push other kids around.
Each of these leaders relished the pandemic.
If you’re honest with yourself you know it’s true.
The examples are all too obvious, from celebrities’ now cringey Cuomo-sexual obsession, to Gavin’s exuberance at the opportunity the pandemic provides to “usher in a new era of progressive governance,” to Donald’s desperate sounding post-election loss rants, to Lori Lightfoot’s cape.
Yes, this actually happened. And we need to acknowledge we were bullied into seeing it and not corporately vomiting.
Social media and a 24–7 news cycle can take some blame but we wouldn’t have all gotten bullied if we weren’t due. If we weren’t ripe for the kicking.
What makes one ripe for bullying? A desperate need to exert justice on a group that we are or were unable to exact justice upon ourselves.
Think of the schoolyard. That kid that teased you. The boy who pushed you. That girl who pointed out to everyone when you dared wear edgy clothes.
So when the bully comes you’re DYING for justice —
“whoa! This bully is gonna take down that other bully?! YESSS!!” We say. FINALLY he’ll get his due — the due I wasn’t able to exact.
Never mind that it causes rational people to mask their kids outdoors, because somehow that pokes Trump in the eye?
We went along with either side because it poked the eye of “the others,” in a way that felt good.
But that feeling faded didn’t it? It didn’t feel as good in 2021 as in 2020 so we let the bullies keep bullying to avoid admitting we were bullied.
Then the house started to fold in on itself.
President Joe Biden told the unvaccinated to their faces that he was “losing patience,” and that going into the joyous Christmas season, that they were in for a “winter of severe loss and death.”
Yet in the State of The Union address last week that same man declared we should:
“not let Covid be a dividing line.”
You don’t say.
The OSHA vaccine mandate failed, on the ground and in the courts and even in Canadian provinces end dates have been set.
The J&J Vaccine was pulled for blood clotting, the Pfizer CEO admitted their vaccine offers little or no protection, and the Astra Zeneca jab led to the death of BBC journalist Lisa Shaw, among others.
You don’t still think vaccines are an all-or-nothing issue do you?
Whats the classic bully trait? The one that’s also the bully flaw, the bully kryptonite?
Despite their loud and often annoying chest beating what does every bully want deep down —
Just to be liked by the cool kids.
Monty was actually a regular kid, we found out he didn’t like that he was bigger than everyone else and though I tussled with him once (my friend got in on the action and bit montys ankle) we became somewhat friends and I wanted him on my kickball team. Nobody else could kick the ball that far — so yeah I guess for that year in the 1980’s, he was our Babe Ruth.
Our leaders have bullied us into acting against each other in ways we previously wouldn’t have thought possible.
Some bullied by assumptions (preserve hospitals at all costs), some told outright lies (Covid is a hoax), but too many bullied us, and too many of us let them.
Are we done being bullied into judging each other’s medical choices? Bullied into avoiding social situations where we might encounter a pro vaxxed or unvaxxed friend?
The bullies are on the ropes, many are fired or will be, are retired or should be soon.
It’s time to take our schoolyard back.
Who’s up for some kickball?