Bullying has become a major issue in the media in the past two years, and rightly so. In the U.S. (and also in England) there has been increased legislation and programming: there are dedicated school counseling programs to recognize victims of bullying as well as official protocols for instances thereof within school campuses as well as off-campus as cyber-bullying becomes more and more problematic, perhaps even systemic. All of these beginning measures are to be applauded.
One is left to wonder, however, about the conflicting messages we are sending about mud-slinging as we are fully in the midst of our Republican primaries. In order to be good citizens, we say to our youth, keep it civil. Do not call names. Do not gossip. Be kind, and if you cannot, then it is best that you say nothing at all.
However, if they turn on the television during the primaries (and do we or do we not want our children to be interested in such things?) the message they no doubt will interpolate regarding bullying is this: what we have said before is all to be thrown out the window. If your aim is to be President, you can say terrible or unsubstantiated things about anyone who is your competitor. Even though technically their marriage has nothing at all to do with their efficacy as President (and you will soon learn the very painful lesson that even the best relationships have low lows as well as high highs), you can say whatever you want to about these very sacred alliances. Ultimately, we are allowing the very people who may one day represent America to bully one another while at the same time undertaking a nationwide anti-bullying campaign.
Who else sees a problem here?