The Politically Incorrect Mom


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Kicking the Dog

My eldest daughter was born sweet. She was bright and beautiful and had the most lovely disposition a mother could ask for. The kind of child everyone wanted to be around – both children and adults. Each year at the end of the school term her teachers would either make a point to call me or send a note home saying they wish they had a whole classroom full of children like her. She was just charmed. At 21 she is still beautiful and brilliant and loved by all who know her. This young lady literally has no enemies.

When she was in the first grade, she shared a classroom with a bully who tormented her for several weeks. A fat little pistol named Gina who stalked her every move and physically abused her whenever an adult was not looking. Worse yet, Gina went to the same care-giver after school, so she couldn’t get a break from the abuse. At first I tried speaking with the teacher and the care-giver. Nobody seemed to be able to get this little girl under control. After getting no relief, I went to the principal of the school and asked her to intervene – nothing. Finally, I approached the little girl’s mother one day as we were leaving the babysitter’s home. I explained that my daughter had received many bruises, welts and scrapes as a result of her daughter’s bullying, to which the mother replied, “tell your daughter to quit being such a baby!”. This, of course, was the last straw. As diplomatically as I could under the circumstances, I explained to the mother that there would be no more hitting, kicking or pushing from her daughter without retaliation. I further explained that I would not be willing to discuss the matter after that day – if the child didn’t leave my daughter alone – my child would be instructed to fight back and in so many words, I told the mother, “don’t come crying to me when it happens”.

That night, my former husband and I sat down with our daughter and explained that while we had always told her she should walk away from Gina – this strategy was obviously not working. I’ll never forget the look on her face when we told her to fight back if Gina lashed out at her again. Eyes like saucers – she responded, “I don’t think I can!” to which my husband said, “It’s your choice, you can either be Gina’s doormat and keep getting hurt, or you can just haul off and smack her!” I remember my stomach being in knots as we had this conversation with her. I wondered whether she would be able to go through with it – and if she did, what was I really teaching this child by telling her to become physical with the other child.

It didn’t take long to find out. The next day I appeared to pick her up from the “sitter” and she bounded out the door with a fresh cut across her face from her left eyebrow down to her bottom right jaw line. She had been hit with a plastic strap - she should have been crying, but she wasn’t. “I did it!” she said, “and Gina ran away and cried!!” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but the decision proved to be a good one in the end. Gina never laid another hand to my daughter and soon the cuts, scrapes and bruises were healed and a distant memory, proving to me that diplomacy may be the first choice, but occasionally, a good old-fashioned hair-pull-butt-kick is in order.

The fight for power between the left and the right has historically been littered with bullying from both sides. One of the things that keeps it interesting, however, is that one side or the other rarely backs down. Thus, the constant struggle...nobody shows any weakness because nobody gives in and that’s o.k., because it’s the nature of the beast.

For the most part, this struggle doesn’t bother me. It’s only when the bullying takes on a more ruthless personality that it really gets under my skin. One such situation that comes to mind is when the local government in my area needed to build a new parole office. The city has limited space and the idea came about that the office should be placed outside the city, in an area that would better serve their needs. The local government secured a sales agreement to purchase land outside the city where a well-known pizza parlor sat. The owner had two locations and his land was more than a suitable place to build the new parole office. The government submitted proposed plans to build an office that would house the parole offices, as well as the police station and some other government offices. The neighborhood was considered the “burbs” and a new building in place of the old pizza parlor would have definitely been an esthetic improvement, but the local residents caught wind of the proposed use of the building and got their panties in a knot. The “not in my neighborhood” bug began to spread. Residents of the neighborhood began holding meetings and filing lawsuits to stop the local government from putting a parole office in their neighborhood. Their argument was that it was a residential area (not true – but not far from one) and that the proposed use of the building would make their neighborhood unsafe. Forget the fact that a police station was going in the same building and forget the fact that it’s unlikely that paroled criminals are going to commit crimes next door to their parole office – their stance was that they didn’t want “those types of people” driving into their neighborhood.

My first reaction to the arguments was, of course, “do they honestly think criminals don’t drive near their homes, patronize their businesses and live in their neighborhoods?” How ridiculous! The second thought that came to my mind was that it was pretty arrogant of them to suggest that any neighborhood other than theirs was better suited for this project. They argued that the office belonged in the city – as though the people who lived in the city were not important enough to be protected from what they claimed to be a very dangerous plan.

The neighborhood in question was not the ritziest neighborhood in town. Not bad - but nothing special. Soon the group fighting this project realized that they were fighting a losing battle against the government, so they decided to bully the “little guy”. Within days they were picketing the pizza parlor – not just at the proposed project location, but at the owner’s other location in another part of the county. They harassed the man and hurt his business until he reneged on the sales agreement (at the risk of being sued by the government) and backed out of the deal.

At the time, I worked with a few of the people from that neighborhood who had taken part in the bullying of this small business owner. I was appalled by their behavior, but even more appalled by their smug attitude afterward – once they had gotten their way. Their argument was always, “Our kids! Our kids!” My thoughts… “way to go – you’ve just taught your kids to bully people if you don’t get your way!”

When the left and right bully each other…all in the name of “fair play”, it’s usually just a part of the game. What bothers me now is that we’ve gone beyond bullying only the opposition and begun to bully each other. What we’ve just witnessed going on in Washington with the Miers nomination came primarily from the right. I’m not suggesting that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. But I’m extremely disappointed with this administration for not standing up for the decisions that have been made lately. Not just with Miers – with a number of things. Our government is turning into the dog that gets kicked and whimpers off to the corner and it’s frightening to me that it’s not only coming from the left. At least when the dems do it – we’re not surprised – it’s the nature of politics. When your own side, however, bullies you until you do what they want – it’s difficult to determine who the enemy is.

I believe that George W. Bush is a good man. I believe he is a good President. I believe that for the most part, he makes sound decisions. I have believed in and trusted this Administration. Today, however, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in our President for bowing down to the pressure and I’m extremely disappointed with the Republicans who perpetrated the bullying that backed him into that corner. If I could say anything to our President today it would be, “It’s your choice, you can either be a doormat and keep getting hurt, or you can just haul off and smack your opponent. But for God’s sake – don’t just stand there and take it!”


  • At 8:35 AM, October 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My dear, sweet, bright as sunshine from birth baby girl, loved by all and sundry, had to kick a jerky kid in Kindergarten after putting up with his crap for days. She, too, got "in trouble"--like she had to write her name on the board or something. It was totally worth it, in her mind and mine. Sometimes all it takes is one time to stand up. You feel stronger, and people don't want to mess with you.

  • At 11:33 AM, October 28, 2005, Blogger P.I. Mom said…

    Amen to that! Like I always say - sometimes you gotta do SOMETHING...even if it IS wrong!

  • At 5:30 PM, October 28, 2005, Anonymous Kent said…

    I'm with you PI Mom. I'd like to see a little less talk and a lot more action.

  • At 12:47 PM, October 29, 2005, Blogger Scott M. Phillips said…

    Could it be that the Administration didn't support its decision, because it lacked a cogent argument for her nomination?

  • At 2:12 PM, October 29, 2005, Blogger P.I. Mom said…

    I'm talking more about conservatives in general than of the Administration. Simply put, I want to see "W" make decisions and stand by them with the same resolve he shows for the war in Iraq. I haven't seen that in a long time. I see a lot of wishy-washy nonsense.

    Over the years I've hired people whom my superiors and my peers thought I was crazy to hire. They didn't realize there was more to them than what met the eye until after I gave them a chance to prove themselves.

    Again, I am not suggesting she was the best choice for the position. I simply want to see our President make a decision and stand by it - in spite of the pressure.

    Additionally, I'm very disappointed in conservatives who know where he stands on the issues, suggesting he was blindly making a decision. He knows what the conservatives want - he IS one. I would argue that there was probably more to the Miers decision than what most of us were aware of.

  • At 2:22 PM, October 29, 2005, Anonymous Kent said…

    I think you make a great argument PI Mom. He is, after all, a conservative himself. He has shown us over the years that he does support conservative causes with a vengeance. There is no reason for us to doubt him now and whats worse is that we saw conservatives making very liberal comments about the presidents intellect on this matter. It's the "you're my friend as long as you do what I say" mentality.

  • At 7:14 PM, October 29, 2005, Blogger Scott M. Phillips said…


    As I am sure you're aware, it's not the same thing to nominate a person to the Supreme Court as hire someone to work in your private enterprise. Last I heard, no one, except college professors, perhaps, had lifetime appointments to work for you.

    As for trusting his judgment, this doesn't work for me at all. First, the Bush clan has never been good at vetting Justices. And, second, of all the possible picks, this one made absolutely no sense. There are too many qualified people "on the bench" and the Conservative movement (which is bigger and more important than this or any President) has worked too hard and long to let this chance slip by.

    It looked bad enough that Cheney picked himself to be the VP candidate in 2000; however, he at least had the defense of being eminently qualified for the office. Ms. Miers does not, and that is why she should have withdrawn.


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