So Melania Trump came out of retirement and gave a speech about, among other things, cyberbullying on Social Media. Pundits and journalists (but I repeat myself) were quick to point out the irony. We could say that nobody knows better about bullying than Ms. Trump. Most, however, wondered how she could miss the glaring problem with focusing on bullying as a bad thing.
This is how. Bill Donahue, not necessarily a favorite of mine, nonetheless notices the underside of this selective media backlash against Ms. Trump.
A while ago, a story circulated that Hillary Clinton was pledging a 500 million dollar plan to combat bullying in our society. On the day it was mentioned, my boys were quick to react. Echoing what they have said all along about Trump and our modern society, they pointed out that all the lamentations over bullying would sound better if the adults who complain the loudest didn’t seem to celebrate the same thing when convenient. Like they said, some of what is called bullying by adults is the same thing they see on cable news debates, or on Comedy Central, or other punditry outlets. If they said about kids in school what Samantha Bee says, they’d be nailed for bullying and creating a ‘hostile environment’ in a heartbeat.And so even as journalists mock Melanie for giving her speech, President Obama agrees to meet with two individuals who incarnate this adult level bullying that we insist our kids never take part in. Really. I know from when my boys were in school, the things said by Maher and Bee are almost verbatim examples of what schools use to illustrate the type of language that won’t be tolerated.
So in some ways, Melanie symbolizes a glaring problem, not just with her and her husband, but all of us adults. Instead of pledging another bloated, multi-million dollar government plan, perhaps the best strategy would be for us adults to act like we really mean it when we tell our kids how they are supposed to treat one another. After all, the best way to teach the Golden Rule is to live it first.
Oh, and one more thing. Leaning on ‘but they’re just comedians Dave’ doesn’t cut it for thinking people. First, much bullying in school happens for the entertainment and amusement of others, and yet I feel we wouldn’t pass on a case of bullying if the kids said they were just doing it for laughs. Second, we know many of these ‘comedians’ are pundits advocating one agenda who slip in and out of the comedian role when convenient. Finally, it’s not as if when some comedian runs afoul of PC sensitivities we suddenly hear that it’s OK, it’s just comedy.