The Bully Pulpit

Trying to come to terms with an increasing number of kids committing suicide do to being bullied is probably impossible for me, but I endeavored to take a look at this terrible epidemic to glean at its root causes.

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The word “Bully” comes from the  Middle Dutch boele lover; akin to Middle Low German bōle lover. Interestingly enough, the term “Bully” was used as an adjective meaning wonderful, great or superb. The term Bully Pulpit was reportedly first tossed into the vernacular by President Theodore Roosevelt to refer to the fact that the position of President offered a fantastic opportunity to push forward an agenda publicly. The term “bully for you” which is still used in some quarters today, refers to something positive – all bullion/bullyon to you – all the riches to you. Additionally, some linguists believe that the term is derived from the Dutch word buhler, meaning a rival for a lady’s affection. Therefore we can infer that the reason for its positive connotation(s) comes from its use in referring to defeating your rival in some kind of contest. But that way of thinking is obsolete in a world where we need to truly work together to find solutions to global issues and potential catastrophes.

Today we are caught in a battle between the old U.S. Robber Baron ideology where to the victor go the spoils; the individual and his needs are of primary importance and the community-centered ideology where working together and sharing is viewed as a better alternative for our society by young people. Interestingly enough, we teach our children to share, be kind, respect others: but as they grow older they are taught in schools that their classmates/friends are their competition to get into schools and/or ultimately to get a job. Our society is competition driven: we see it with Sports, T.V. Programs, Political Discourse. The never-ending refrain that permeates in our society: Only those that end up in 1st place are winners. Compromise and working together is viewed with disdain. In her article, “How America’s Bully Economy leads to a “Bully Society,” Jessie Klein details how our deteriorating inequitable economic system has put further strain on people causing increased competition among the middle-class, working-class and the poor for decreasing resources. These pressures are absorbed by our children and we see the negative consequences in the form of bullying and suicide due to bullying.

My friends in the band, Bandwith No Name have dedicated one of their songs to Amanda Todd, a victim of cyber-bullying called Forever.

Please visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/ to take action. Remember, prevention is the key, we must model and create a caring, equitable, fair environment, society for our children. Stop the negativity, the fear-mongering and intolerance. The sociopaths in the corporate world have manipulated our government and our thoughts long enough! Heed the lessons that exist in many traditions “Do to others what you would want them to do to you. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Alex Paramo
Don’t forget to support your local musicians, and artists of all mediums while promoting literacy in our community – http://communitypublishing.org


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One thought on “The Bully Pulpit

  1. Pingback: Newest Blog by our Author Alex Paramo | Community Publishing

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