In the wake of the tragedy of the suicide of Amanda Todd, bloggers are understandably talking a lot about the question of bullying. What do we do? How do we put a stop to it, or at the very least prevent it from becoming so desperate that young people (and adults) take their own lives to escape the physical and emotional pain that bullying brings?
Bloggers are talking a lot about punishing the perpetrators through the law or, in the case of young offenders, through a process of public shaming.
But it seems to be that such approaches will, in the final analysis, do little to really address the problem of bullying. We live in a culture of violence and bigotry. Our Prime Minister and his underlings have made bullying their fundamental mode of operation, and they have spent millions trying to transform Canada back into a nation of war. Stephen Harper and his cronies continually use name-calling, lying, marginalization, and aggressive public bullying in an attempt to deride their political opponents and bring them down in the eyes of the public. How many times did a Conservative stand up in the House and refer to Jack Layton as "Talaban Jack" because he had the gall to question the Conservative policy in Afghanistan? How many times did the Conservatives belittle Dion with name-calling and bird-poop? How many whistle-blowers have the Conservatives derided with personal attacks to belittle them and draw people's attention away from their own short-comings. Never concerned with the actual issues of their opponents, instead the Conservatives marginalize and attack in an attempt to pray upon perceived weaknesses that have nothing to do with the actual politics at hand.
In other words, far from reducing bullying in Canada, Stephen Harper and his government have raised bullying to the status of nationally sanctioned behaviour. And this mode of behaviour is championed by Conservative supporters all over this country. It is legitimized in the eyes of many parents and made honorable through the process.
Putting an end to bullying will be a long and complex problem. But we cannot even begin the process until nasty, mean, lying, violence-promoters like Stephen Harper and his henchmen are publicly disgraced because people reject their bigoted evil ways. The way to struggle against such bullying is when the mass of people stand up against their violent words and actions. Until then, the bullies of young women like Amanda Todd will continue to see in their political leaders that bullying is the favoured behaviour.
Sorry Amanda, and rest in peace.