When a bus monitor named Karen Klein was barraged with insults and threats by several young boys and a video of the exchange was uploaded onto YouTube for the world to see, people were outraged. Some of the kids apologized and Klein has even gained a hefty vacation sum from supporters. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow says the situation is the result of America's bullying culture.
But what, if anything, does this say about society at large? Many things one could argue, but, for me, it is a remarkably apt metaphor for this moment in the American discourse in which hostility has been drawn out into the sunlight.
Those boys are us, or at least too many of us: America at its ugliest. It is that part of society that sees the weak and vulnerable as worthy of derision and animus.
This kind of behavior is not isolated to children and school buses and suburban communities. It stretches to the upper reaches of society — our politics and our pulpits and our public squares. Whether it is a Republican debate audience booing a gay soldier or Rush Limbaugh's vicious attack on a female Georgetown law student or Newt Gingrich's salvos at the poor, bullying has become boilerplate. Hiss and taunt. Tease and intimidate. Target your enemies and torture them mercilessly. Maintain primacy through predation.
Read Charles M. Blow's entire piece at the New York Times.
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