I am a firm believer in leading by example. It’s not an easy thing to do, but if we at least keep that as the gold standard and try our best to live up to it, I believe we would all be better for it. When we look at our society, we see an epidemic among our children that is costing them their lives…some through suicide, others through school shootings. This epidemic is bullying and it’s nothing new. All of us have most likely been bullied at one time or another by a neighbor, a mean kid at school, a coach, a sibling, or even a parent. The act of bullying says more about the bully than the one being bullied.
StompOutBullying.org states that some of the primary reasons kids bully others are to seek attention or a sense of empowerment and that oftentimes the kids pick up this bullying behavior from the example set by older siblings, coaches, or parents. The site states that parents who bully generally have anger issues and struggle to handle conflict in a positive way.
The site also states the following: (paraphrasing)
Bullies dominate, blame and use others. They lack empathy and foresight and have contempt for the weak. They see weaker kids as their target and don’t accept the consequences of their actions. They crave power and attention. Social bullies have poor self-esteem and manipulate others through gossip and being mean. Detached bullies plan their attacks and always seem likable to everyone but their victims. No matter what kind of bully someone is, they have not learned kindness, compassion, and respect.
Now let’s discuss the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, shall we? Honestly, I cannot wrap my head around the fact that grown, professional adults pay top dollar to sit around and listen to someone insult and denigrate another human being. In the age of tolerance and acceptance where we are encouraged to celebrate diversity, it seems that only applies when it suits a particular agenda. Human decency has given way to “entertainment” (and I use that term loosely), not much different from the days of the fights in the Roman Colosseum only this time instead of swords we use words and public humiliation to shame someone. If you ask me, the damage done by the latter is exponentially worse. When the Romans stabbed their victims, death was certain and swift. When someone is verbally attacked and publically humiliated, they are forced to live in that cloud of shame and humiliation until many times the sheer weight of it simply becomes too much to bear. The suffering is immeasurable. And we call this entertainment.
The comedian, if you want to call her that, at the heart of this event was for all intents and purposes unknown to pretty much anyone. With just over 17,000 likes on her professional Facebook page, you could say she was a nobody as far as fame was concerned. That could shed some insight into why she would accept a gig that included denigrating and publically humiliating another woman. 15 minutes is a long time when fame was previously elusive. As I stated earlier, the act of bullying says more about the bully than the one being bullied. StompOutBullying. org states that bullies lack empathy, don’t accept the consequences for their actions, crave attention, have poor self-esteem, plan their attacks and have not learned kindness, compassion, and respect. Sounds about right.
I find fault not only in the woman who saw fit to verbally abuse and publically humiliate another woman; one who herself is a working mother and a public servant, a daughter, a sister, a friend to many, a parishioner, and a fellow American, but I find fault with the entire concept of this event whose reputation for public humiliation…or shall we refer to it as “roasting” so as not to offend anyone…is infamous. This woman was paid to make another woman feel like she was worthless, like she was less than, like she was ugly, fat, masculine, dishonest. I have about 10 books on my desk right now, most with accompanying workbooks or journals, that speak to helping women who have been battling these feelings to overcome them and to see their true inner beauty and strength. How ironic that while one is making money tearing a person down others are making money building those broken souls back up.
My question to each of you is this: What the hell are we doing?
This is unacceptable on about nine different levels. Why is there even one iota of justification for what this woman said at this event? One article claimed, “she did her job”. What the hell kind of job pays someone to make someone else feel like shit? Why does that job exist in this world and why on God’s green earth are people paying to participate in it? We have got to be better than this! We have got to hold ourselves to higher standards than this. Women’s activists should be livid and screaming from the rooftops…where are they? Why are they not condemning this attack on a working mother? Have we sold our souls for a few cheap laughs and a headline? Is 15 minutes of fame really worth breaking someone down to nothingness?
The next time we see our children act out, the next time we read in the papers about a 10-year-old hanging themselves in their closet because the bullying became too much to bear, the next time we wake up to the aftermath of another school shooting because some teen was so broken they couldn’t see any other way out…the next time we read about a grown woman being paid to bully another human being and it being called “entertainment”, we need to stop and take a good hard look at what is becoming acceptable and raise our damn standards. This is not okay and as long as we keep allowing it to happen nothing will change. It starts at home. It starts with us.
Featured image courtesy of Sarah Sanders’ Twitter page.