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When Bullies Win: How Do Weary Americans Face the Post-Election Trauma?

November 5, 2014 in Blogs

By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

Lessons from the past can help us confront a daunting future.

Most of us did not escape that moment on the playground when the bully came over and demanded our candy. What could we do? The bruising boy and the mean girl used fear and intimidation to get their way. If that didn’t work, there were other methods. Sometimes the bully had powerful friends and came on gangster-style. Other times the mean girl shoved and hit us and left us flailing in the dirt. However it happened, it left wounds.

As a native North Carolinian, I felt some memory of those early wounds creeping into my body as I watched the election returns come in. After an ugly, protracted fight sucking up more money than any senate race in the country, Republican Thom Tillis, the speaker of the rabid North Carolina House of Representatives, beat incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan by a slim margin. He will now take his bare-knuckles brand of politics to Washington.

A consummate bully, Tillis is the kind of man who allegedly shot paintballs at his neighbor’s barn. He bullies teachers, accusing them of choosing their profession in order to get rich, despite the fact that NC ranks close to the bottom of the country in teacher pay.  He bullies people struggling to get by, backing a mean-spirited proposal to force those on public assistance to submit to drug testing. “What we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance,” he once told a crowd at a NC college. He bullies women who try to terminate their pregnancies safely and has promoted measures to force them to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds. He bullies African Americans, suggesting that public assistance is “de facto reparations” for slavery. He bullies people away from the polls, trying to ensure that they have no redress for their grievances. Schoolchildren, immigrants, gay people, sick people, and the elderly have all been victims of his relentless aggression. Tillis is a bully, and he knows how to get his way.

He was just one of a …read more


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