“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” – Margaret Thatcher
Bullying has become a much more common and public political weapon in the last few years – especially when people run out of arguments. It is also one of the single biggest reasons that many people, especially women, have withdrawn from political discussions.
When someone expresses a belief which is immediately shot down, stridently insulted or received with overt hostility, they tend to clam up and learn that it isn’t worth the pain and suffering to have an opinion voiced. Who wants to take flak for simply expressing their views?
Strategic bullying is insidious and dangerous. It mutes dissention and stops good, qualified candidates from running for office, effectively stifling the freedom of speech and boiling down government to a one-party system.
The worst part of this is that it isn’t the government or a court taking away our voice, it is us – we are censoring ourselves because we choose not to be made uncomfortable.
It bears repeating: Strategic bullying effectively stifles freedom of speech and is used as a tactic to contrive a one-party system of rule.
If someone is hitting you with a stick, the best way to stop them is take away the stick. It’s time for people on both sides of the aisle to find their inner spines, call the bullies out and stand up for the rule of law.
After all, if you don’t stand for anything, you stand for nothing.