Bully Beware

You’re the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful…..

Jees, what exactly did I say on the playground to that sixth grade schoolgirl back in the 1960s that her insults still ring in my ears to this day?

We didn’t have political correctness back then so it might’ve been awful.  Likely, she made a remark about something I did or said that insulted my masculinity or smarts or ability to succeed at something and I couldn’t take the criticism.

Oh no she didn’t!

Likely it was all three, but if you put a gun to my head it’d go with masculinity. For pre-pubescent boys,  it’s ALWAYS about masculinity.

Well, that’s the way it was back in Queens when I was 11 years old.  You say this, I say that, the insults escalate and suddenly one kid is called the meanest, the most horrible and the most disrespectful simply for fighting back.

Don’t mess with grandma

This is the world I grew up in and, even though he’s more than a decade older than me, that’s the world our American POTUS Donald Trump grew up in.

So when he said those very school girlish words about Sen. Kamala Harris the very day she was named by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be his running mate for vice-president each immediately tugged at my memory.

The meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful.

Grade school, playground, bully, man, camera, Queens.

Check, check, check, check, check  and…checkmate!

I think she can handle it

Full disclosure:  If I’m being totally honest I won’t swear that  the above-mentioned 11-year-old girl actually said those words to me.  More likely they were said to some jerky guy saying something awful and likely sexist to her and I simply stood by and let him.

Picture 11-year-old pre-pubescent Donnie Trump brazenly spewing insults through the space between the swings and in front of all the younger kids, loud enough for all the teachers to hear, and you might begin to understand why that little girl had nothing left to do but to call him the meanest, most horrible and most disrespectful.

Then understand this —  that little girl is HIM.

Yeah, he wishes he was as good as me

You know… that senior citizen and just-filed-an-absentee-mail-in-ballot POTUS Trump. He actually opened his latest fundraising letter to potential Republican donors with it.

Yeah.

The first few lines literally read:

It’s soooooo 1956-1966.

Forget politics, forget red state vs. blue state and forget conservative vs. liberal. Instead, whenever you think of Trump from now through Election Day remember that desperate little girl on the playground.

Because if you get into the intellectual or political weeds trying to prove that to anyone on the other side that former California Attorney General Kamala Harris is NOT as liberal of a senator than, say, BERNIE SANDERS, you’re playing at the wrong game.

LOL

See, the real game is:  I’m rubber, You’re glue, whatever bounces off me sticks to you.

Or:  I know you are, but what am I….

There is no reasoning with a playground bully appropriating the words of the bullied 11 year-old girl who was bullied by him.  Or his merry gang of bully supporters.  Sure, you can try to tell the teacher or someone else in a position of authority but if your school was anything like mine, they were nowhere to be found at times like these.

Just like the Congress. (Note:  Well, at least the Senate).

The Senate’s Summer 2020 plans revealed

So it’s up to us to do the policing and not be side tracked by bully-speak.  Even though it’s tempting.  Very tempting.  So much so that whenever the insults get the best of me I picture 11-year-old Donnie in pigtails and a dress, carrying a giant swirly sucker (nee lollipop), as they did back in his day, and all quickly becomes well with the world.

Sure, we’ve all got Kamala’s back even though I suspect (note: know FOR SURE) that she can take care of herself.

Maya will help too! #moreofthisplease

But we need to worry more about our absconded mailboxes, walking our mail-in ballots to our local Board of Elections office, donating money, and talking up the Biden-Harris ticket to anyone who will listen through our MASKS.

MSNBC’S Rachel Maddow, my personal oracle, wisely tells us almost daily to: Watch what they do, not what they say. 

I would only add to that: VOTE – and make sure you do it in or deliver it to the place where it is most likely to be counted.

Shirley Temple – “On the Good Ship Lollipop”

Fizzled Fourth

I don’t know about you but I was dreading this Fourth of July holiday weekend, and not only because my dog and pretty much every dog hates fireworks.

At this point, each dog owner has figured out ways to comfort their pooches, whether it’s with love, food, drugs or a very thick blanket.

Are these humans serious?

And when that doesn’t work, you just hold them and pray, even if you’re an atheist.

No, instead, it was the American culture wars I was dreading and all the talk about and around it.  The endless rhetoric of left vs. right, patriotism vs. treason, all spewed through or at the lens of the pancake made-up person with the loudest bully pulpit in America – our current and very bloated POTUS.

Frankly, he and it has just given me a headache and caused me for the first time in my life to wish illness, death pestilence and/or a bad cause of piles on another human being.

Population: Me

And despite what it might seem like I truly don’t wish bad things on other people.  Ever.

Not only is it not good karma, it’s simply toxic and immature to do so.  To pollute your life with thoughts of destruction and suffering for another life is to deny yourself the pleasures of existing at all.  Our time here is short and there’s loads of crap to deal with.  SO much crap these days and SO much time to deal with it.  Why waste precious moments on HIM or THAT?

Evaluating what constitutes as a “waste” is really difficult

Don’t take this to mean I’m not speaking out, not voting, not doing everything but handing my house over to Joe Biden in the next four months in the spirit of Independence Day.  Or, that I am advising any of you to not to do all of the above.

It’s just too much to go on and on AND ON about this or it right about now.

That is because it’s not the SYMBOLS of America that make it great.  It’s only the progressive actions of truly patriotic Americans that allow us to approach, or get anywhere near the vicinity of greatness.

OK, this might be a bit much #imisshim

Incidentally, the term progressive is not meant to be political here but to merely express the concept of being forward thinking i.e. regarding the future.   The word is literally defined in our dictionaries as proceeding step by step to our greatness.

The way to honor our very American and admittedly very flawed Founding Fathers is not to symbolically clench and squeeze the flag or an eagle or any of our fellow citizens in deference until they break or are torn apart, much as we might enjoy doing so.  It is instead to embrace the legacy of freedom and liberty and justice for all articulated by our 18th century leaders and try to actually make them happen – and grow it.

… and I don’t mean this kind of patriotism

More simply put, the question to really ask on the Fourth of July, and every day, is how do we take what they gave us and do better?  How do we run with those ideas and expand them into the 21st, 22nd and every other upcoming century in a way that meets the needs and the population of the moment?

As we look out through our windows and talk through our masks (Note: If we’re smart) this July think of one way to help make freedom, liberty or justice happen for one cause, one group or one person and take some small step to do so.

This can literally be ANYTHING – a spirited discussion, a cash contribution, a demonstration, a comment or even, perish the thought, a tweet (Note: Try not to rely too heavily on the latter for obvious reasons).

… and absolutely not this nonsense #no

If all else fails, watch Hamilton on Disney Plus.  It encapsulates the ideals and intent of what our framers started while pushing that rock just a little farther up the hill.  Not to mention, it’s chock full of old, new and re-appropriated ideas alike.

Even if it’s not to your taste it will get you thinking, and isn’t THAT what this is all about?

If not, it should be.

Cast of Hamilton – “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”