Stand

Tensions are nothing new for New York City. According to History.com, an 1857 NYC squabble (illustrated below) involved two rival police forces. It’s an interesting tidbit from history, don’t you think?

With this long-ago situation a variant of what’s happening today in cities across our country, newscasts have become more tedious by the day. Incidents like this, and this, and this certainly give me pause. What’s next? The whipping post and pillory? It seems intentional humiliation of individuals is now an acceptable power tactic to keep the timid, huddled masses in line.

I wonder about this strange societal transformation. Historically, yes, oppressed peoples have endured shame, felt the sting of subservience, and the boot of tyrannical overlords. But now, though the tables are turned, cruelty and hate remain as oppressive. Only the faces have changed. And the new faces share the same hideous lust for power.

Interestingly, the US Department of Health and Human Services hosts a website stopbullying.gov. There’s an extended explanation about what constitutes bullying. The website is directed toward school-children, but the opening paragraphs sound strangely familiar, referring to “aggressive behavior,” kids using “power” to control or harm others. One example of social bullying is “embarrassing someone in public.” Current news coverage is replete with representative specimens.

At their worst, school-yard bullies are downright amateurs compared with the aggressive behavior of the bully / mobs we’ve witnessed over the last 2½ weeks. The HHS website urges:  Stop Bullying On the Spot. We should expect no different in every city where such deplorable actions are being repeated nightly. Stop the Bullying, Now! We will be fearless and steadfast … and never kneel or yield to their demands.

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