This Has To Stop

“Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” (Karen Armstrong)

Welcome, Messrs. DeSantis, Abbott, and Carlson,Why do we tolerate bullies and bullying? The moment we see one person abusing or belittling another we should be stepping in. Are we just so accustomed to the bullying behaviors of a former president and his cult following that we shrug our shoulders and say, “what are you gonna do?”?

What kind of example are we setting for young people?

This week, the world saw astonishingly cruel public bullying toward a group of migrants by Florida governor and presidential wannabe Ron DeSantis. The Venezuelan families were in Texas, in the process of going through proper channels to seek asylum in America. In a cheap and sadistic play for attention, DeSantis used Florida taxpayer money to pick up migrant families in San Antonio and fly them in two chartered jets to Martha’s Vineyard. There, he essentially dumped them for the local residents and municipality to deal with. He sent a videographer along to record the Northern outrage that he was sure would ensue. DeSantis claimed he was “protecting” Florida by flying the migrant families to Massachusetts. He did not elaborate on how kidnapping people in Texas protects Florida.

Is kidnapping too strong a word? How about human trafficking? Certainly coercion. The migrants said they were told they were being flown to Boston, where they were promised jobs and months of free housing.

DeSantis’s stunt isn’t even original. The idea of dumping migrants in Martha’s Vineyard was suggested in July by FOX News’s resident bully, Tucker Carlson. Plus, DeSantis is purloining a page from the playbook of his buddy, Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has for many months been busing immigrants from Texas to cities such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Just this week, Abbott transported about 100 migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ doorstep in D.C. If you watch these governors’ smug faces on the news, it’s clear they think they’re pretty cute. About as cute as 12-year-old boys tearing the wings off flies.

I ask again, what kind of example are we setting for young people?

Perhaps, though, the response of the residents of Martha’s Vineyard will make a more positive and lasting impression. According to the Boston Globe, within about 20 minutes, the good people of that island community were mobilized and averting the deliberately-planned crisis. They assembled Spanish speakers as translators, distributed snacks and water, and arranged for overnight shelter at a local church, where later, volunteers delivered dinner and breakfast. By the next morning, individuals and local businesses were on hand with food, clothing, and personal essentials. Local legal services have already stepped in to provide help with representation and long-distance communications.

One local resident stated: ″We love that they’re here, and I guess what we’re doing is making a political statement back at Ron DeSantis…. we’re going to show people they’re welcome in this community.”

The migrants have since been moved from Martha’s Vineyard to a military base on Cape Cod, where they have broader access to food, shelter, and services.

I know immigration is a problem, and one with no easy solution. And maybe these stunts will initiate some needed action. But under no circumstances can it ever be okay for brutes like these governors to treat other human beings as if they were less than human.

But that’s what bullies do.

And we mustn’t let them get away with it. I hope on November 8 the voters of Florida and Texas will choose wisely . . . and compassionately.

I think the Globe said it well: “There is surely a special place in hell reserved for those who treat immigrants as so much refuse to be deposited without notice for no other reason than to cause chaos and generate headlines.”

“The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart.” (The Dalai Lama)

22 thoughts on “This Has To Stop

    • I understand Gov. DeSantis has now vowed to repeat this stunt several times over the coming months. He even made provisions for it in Florida’s budget. I hope he finds the people of his state to be less inclined toward cruelty. For some reason, I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” We see exactly who he is . . . and he needs to be kept out of the White House. Thanks, Janis!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Choosing to ignore cruelty and bullying is the same as condoning and abetting it. Wholeheartedly agreed, Donna — it must not be tolerated, smirked at or shrugged off; we must unite in condemnation and (if applicable, which it may be, in this case) criminal prosecution of these cowardly, soulless bastards. As Robert Reich has said, standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society.

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    • So true, Kris. Legal experts are saying that the action violated a number of significant laws. These politicians seem to think laws don’t apply to them, and sadly, they are often right. I hope a tenacious prosecutor takes this one on. Thank you for the Reich reference. I hadn’t heard that before. He’s exactly right.


  2. Thank you, Donna! And what a beautiful manifestation of the antithesis of dehumanization by the people on Martha’s Vineyard! When I think about upstanding, I first feel conflict and caution–sometimes standing up to a bully in real time can be dangerous, and we each have to make our own assessments of potential risks and consequences. That said, there is usually *something* I can do, and that usually means caring for the person/people being bullied. And sometimes I don’t have to engage the bully at all. Just by attending to their target and essentially ignoring them, I can signal to them that they exclude themselves from functional community by their behavior. This way, I don’t lower my own behavior by attacking or dehumanizing the dehumanizer. And later I can find humane and effective ways for holding them accountable for their actions. And this applies at many different levels of relationship and community, the more I think about it. Thank you for prompting me to think more deeply about my own approaches and actions in these situations, Donna!! 😀

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    • You’re absolutely right, Cathy, that personal safety must be considered when standing up to a bully. There’s evidence that once one person stands up, others will follow, and *most* bullies will back off and often run for the hills (as bullies are generally cowards). Of course, if the bully is psychotic or deranged, all bets are off.

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  3. “the deliberately-planned crisis”

    You summed it up in that phrase. I don’t know how to process such wanton [not wonton] cruelty, yet here we are. I am pleased to know that the people of Martha’s Vineyard have risen to the challenge, but saddened to know they had to. People suck, a few in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I gather from your comment, Ally, that you also saw the clip of Lauren Boebert proselytizing and at the same time questioning “wonton killings.” Surely, the gazpacho police were complicit. You’re a wise woman, explain to me, please, how so many relentlessly and proudly stupid people are being elected to national offices. I’m baffled. But now craving Chinese food.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes, the rise of stupidity. I see it as the backlash against the smartness embodied in the Obamas. How dare they succeed and help people? Must bring them, and their ilk, down. I grew up around this nonsense and see it for what it is– resentment.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Neil. I have a copy of a tweet made by the ever-so-noble Lindsey Graham in May of 2016, saying, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.” They saw the writing on the wall, and they chained themselves to the wall anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dealing with immigration issues needs to be done with compassion and common sense, and everyone needs to do their part. Immigrants, legal or illegal, shouldn’t be used for political manipulating. I’ve been “off the grid” for a while, so I was astounded when I heard about this. As one of my fellow bloggers said, politics has become a reality show on steroids….and that’s not good for anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ann, hope your time off-grid was relaxing. It is sickening to see people in positions of power show so little regard for other people. It’s clear by their words and their behavior that they see immigrants . . . and liberals . . . and women . . . as less than human. Hope the electorate shows them the door.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think we’re seeing more people who are willing to call bullying behavior what it is. And not let it slide. I hope that means the balance is shifting toward kindness and compassion. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: My Bully Pulpit | A Year of Living Kindly

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