Thursday, November 5, 2020

Stan' up an' fight.

I came downstairs Wednesday morning expecting a lot of tears.

My wife is a breathtakingly level-headed woman, but she went to bed Tuesday night convinced that the Bully-in-Chief had won the 2020 presidential election.

I had, all night long, been getting a series of pings. Usually followed by two phonemes. 1) Uh. 2) Oh.

What a horrible indictment of a country of 325 million with a $22 trillion economy that this monstrosity could become president not just once, but twice.

I thought back to September 11, 2001.

That horrible day.

I was stunned how many people couldn't turn off the news.

In fact, they watched tape of people leaping from the towers over and again.

No. Turn off the news. It will still be there in 48-hours.

In any event, I came downstairs defiant.

There's little in this world I despise more than bullies. I've always felt that way. And I will not let bullies like trump and mcconnell and susan collins and the entire fox "news" network bully me. I will not let them make me one of them. I will not become, stealing a phrase from Daniel Goldhagen, one of Hitler's Willing Executioners.

Nicht icht.

I told my wife a story from my childhood.

I was running home from a friend's house. It must have been a Sunday. It was twilight, and I was taking a shortcut through the empty parking lot Gristedes. The lot had no cars and the shopping carts were strewn about pell-mell.

Glen Hall started chasing me. He was the biggest kid in the 7th grade, and African American and as a result of those two factors, he was the most fearsome kid around.

He decided he wanted to beat me up. He wanted to bully me.

I was scared shitless.

But I caught myself. 

I'm as big as he is, I said. And his race endows him with nothing I don't have. I'm not going to let him scare me.

I turned and started walking toward Glen. 

I tried not to show fear.

He said something like you'd expect. That he'd smash my face in, or something elegant like that. 

I tried not to show fear.

Instead, I did the opposite. 

I grabbed a nearby shopping cart and ran toward Glen with it as a battering ram. He ran scared. But even pushing the cart, I was faster.

I trapped him at the chainlink and in a minute or two we were on the asphalt, slugging each other. But by this time, I had the upper-hand. I was crazy enough to run after him. No one does that to bullies.

I had bullied the bully.

I got him on the ground and pinned him with my knees on his shoulders. He struggled but he couldn't get up.

"I could beat your face in now," I screamed at him. "But you're not worth it." 

I let him up.

It was his turn now to run away scared.

Somehow at six this morning this seemed like an apt story to tell about America's political reality. 

Since then reality has altered slightly. It seems at the moment marginally less awful than it was twelve hours ago. That could shift 19 more times as trump does what he's always done: grab things that don't belong to him.

My two cents is simple.

At work, in life there are always bullies about who will try to cow you into submission.

Don't be bovine about life.

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