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“20 Celebs with Noses Bigger Than Ski Slopes”
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These headlines and thousands others like them fill social media feeds every day. America is sick. We love immaturity. Pettiness. Meanness. And bullying.
We click on stories that promise to help us degrade and discourage people. We’re entertained by shameless attacks on others.
And, now we’re in the midst of trying to elect a new president. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that the front runner in my party is a petty, mean bully. I shouldn’t really be surprised, should I, that his insults reek of seventh grade gym class, of every mean girl experience that I’ve ever had? Given the way that our country seems to adore small-mindedness and vicious opinion-spewing, I shouldn’t be amazed that Donald Trump is doing so well.
Yet, I am.
So, let me get this out, America. I’m going to say this once and be done with it. If Donald Trump winds up being our president, I will treat him with the respect that the office demands. But, today he is a businessman vying for my vote.
I grew up in a tiny Texas town, and I couldn’t wait to finally make it to junior high, because when we hit junior high school, we were finally allowed to have off-campus lunch. Instead of bringing our warm-ish ham sandwiches to school in lunchboxes, we were free to walk downtown to get lunch at the convenience store. The first day of seventh grade, we set out for lunch with a brave new sense of freedom, money jingling in pockets as we hoofed it down cracked sidewalks in our jelly shoes and side ponytails.
For the first few weeks, we felt a certain camaraderie. No parents, no teachers. Just little gangs of too-young kids united in our quest for the perfect chicken crispito that waited for us under the warmer at the Quickway. But, those first weeks passed. And, it was like we suddenly woke up to the fact that there were no adults around. No law. No supervision. And, we started using the time to gang up on each other. I vividly remember one day when I was the chosen outcast. A group of girls who had been my friends just the day before surrounded me and literally sang a mean song that they had made up about me. I learned a lot that day. Like, the fact that bullying is usually a group sport. Bullies like to surround themselves with a support team, people who egg them on and tell them how great they are.
Just look at every typical bully that’s portrayed in literature or film. They always have a gang. Art imitates life. Think of every bully you’ve ever known. I’ll bet you can remember the minions who surrounded him. The mean girls who prodded her to get even nastier.
Donald Trump isn’t a seventh grader. He’s long past the days of 12 year old angst. And, we aren’t unsupervised junior high students walking to lunch, waiting to see who’s going to gang up on who next.
So, do me a favor, America. Don’t be a part of Donald Trump’s gang. Don’t be one of those lame, no-name characters who’s standing in the background, laughing hysterically saying, “Yeah! You tell them, Donald!” Don’t teach your kids that this is the kind of behavior that we are looking for in the President of this great country. Don’t lower your standards, saying to yourself that no one is honorable anymore. Honorable men are out there. Men who don’t take pleasure in adoring themselves, who are equal parts humble and confident, who feel the weight of the solemn responsibility of being the leader of the free world.
Take a lesson from all of those bullies you’ve seen in books and movies: they always end up throwing their gang to the wolves. Don’t think for a minute that a bully feels loyalty to anyone, least of all you, lowly one-line character. We don’t have to join the ranks and follow Trump around while he personally attacks the physical features, gender, race, clothing style, and career path of everyone who dares to disagree with him. Let’s refuse to be a part of it. Because bullies always lose in the end. But, not before their followers.
Whatever you do, vote. Liberty is a gift. Don’t squander it.