Please, Don’t Feed the Bully

Please, Don’t Feed the Bully

Bullies are insecure jerks. You know this if you managed to survive your junior high and high school years. Bullies attack because they fear being attacked. Bullies point out perceived flaws in others to deflect examination of their own shortcomings. The best way to deal with a bully is usually to ignore him. It’s easier said than done.

Take the bully-in-chief, who delights in slinging adolescent insults. Horse face, dog, fat pig, slob—and these are just a few of the insults he’s leveled at women. He insults men too, but let’s not devote too many words to this childish habit. The point is, this instinct to verbally attack someone in order to avoid criticism or scrutiny is childish and points to a disturbing level of insecurity and self doubt. But responding to such attacks with more than a shrug or a laugh shows a lack of maturity, as well. I’m looking at you, Elizabeth Warren.

Look, I like Sen. Warren. I like what she stands for and how she isn’t afraid to take on the big money industries in America. I like her persistence and her intelligence. But I’m sad that she responded to the president’s ongoing needling about her Native American heritage by taking a DNA test and publicizing the results. You can’t shut up a bully by rolling out facts. Bullies don’t work that way.

And she’s proved nothing. So what if she has a bit of Native American blood in her DNA? Does that change who she is as a person or as a potential presidential candidate? Does it make her part of the Native American community? It does not. By taking the test and publicizing the results, she’s shown the world she can be needled into trying to justify her worth because some petty man says she should. We shouldn’t be conducting politics as an ongoing game of Truth or Dare.

The current president doesn’t give a whit about things like paperwork or evidence or facts. He continued to rant about President Obama’s citizenship even after he saw the man’s birth certificate. It’s preposterous. Any serious response to his ridiculous jabs is misguided. Warren should have known better. She should have ignored him or laughed off his foolish insults. But there is something about this particular bully that inspires response from people who ought to know better.

I suppose it’s his power. It’s easy enough to dismiss the school bully who seems small once you’ve grown up and can see him for the sad and insecure person he really is, but it’s harder to ignore the sad, insecure person who continues to push his way into power, to smash and grab and punch like a small child, to hurl insults when self-reflection is warranted.

By virtue of his office, the president’s words have weight. That’s too bad, because his words aren’t any better than the words of that annoying guy in junior high who makes up cruel nicknames for all the kids who are smarter than he is. Take note, Sen. Warren, the really smart kids know better than to respond.

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Tiffany Quay Tyson

THE PAST IS NEVER, a southern gothic novel steeped in local lore, is available now. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance deemed it an Okra Pick. Tyson's debut novel THREE RIVERS was a finalist for both the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction. She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and now lives, writes, and teaches in Denver, Colorado.
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One thought on “Please, Don’t Feed the Bully

  1. I totally agree. When I heard what she did, I was immediately saddened that she let a bully control her narrative. She should know better.

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