A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Nov 18, 2011

What do Penn State, Herman Cain, Wall Street banks, aspca, and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?

What do Penn State, Herman Cain, Wall Street banks, aspca, and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?

Courtesy Google Images
They each embody a story of abuse of power in one form or another. Whether set against a landscape of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, corporate greed, the strong picking on the weak or the majority tormenting the minority - the tales are the same. They are sagas about bullying-plain and simple. Specifically, they represent methods of using superior strength of influence to intimidate and/or force a victim to do what the bully wants. (Paraphrased from the On Line Dictionary)

The bullies prey on our wish to pursue happiness free from conflict and pain by using threats of retaliation, physical harm, loss of job, loss of good reputation and economic clout. Like an ordinary street gang, they conspire with one another to guard their secret handshake and to extort silence from victims so the gang can thrive. In fact, some may thrive so well as to become too big to fail!  For example, fear of losing a job, being labeled a "trouble maker", or being called a slut, might cause a victim of sexual harassment to think twice before complaining. Or, the risk of negative publicity and attendant loss of funding and stature might motivate the trustees of a well-regarded institution to allow the rape and molestation of youngsters to continue unimpeded for a decade. Remaining tight-lipped about the unfettered packaging of mystery financial instruments or the misleading practices of a charitable corporation suggesting that they are an "umbrella" organization, permits the innocent to invest or to donate under false pretenses-which is precisely the point as the purchase or gift might not occur if the truth were known.

Whether cowering behind a corporate veil or a white sheet, those in power rape, steal and overpower those who can neither fight back nor identify the attacker. Sadly, in the Penn State situation, where there were even actual witnesses, they appeared to be ethically impotent and rendered silent by fear or retaliation and exile by the powers that be. In a horrifying development, one of the Penn State victims is being bullied by the students in his high school as punishment for "taking down" the heroes of the college football universe.

Thus, if one looks closely, the twenty four hour news cycle has only one story to report. That is: the Queen of Hearts wants things her way or no way, and that she will own and dominate the planet. Objectors (as identified by her cronies) will be beheaded. Breaking news - a big bully strikes again!

Our constitution defends minority rights, religions, and the right of a single voice to speak against the government. There are laws designed to protect the individual and those weaker and vulnerable to abuse by the reigning clique. And still - the large pummel the small, the majority taunts the minority, the big kid throws sand on the little kid and the little kid kicks a puppy.

As long as we ravage the environment because we can, exploit and torture animals because we can, subjugate women and children because we can, decimate minority constituencies because we can, and laud power over the frail because we can - we are doomed to forever travel in circles powered by the biggest oar in the boat.

Who do I see about this?

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