Saturday, October 16, 2010

Does It Get Better?

I am not certain how useful Dan Savage's 'it gets better' campaign is, under the auspices of 'giving hope' to bullied gay teens (after several high profile suicide cases). Some of the videos seem silly and forced, particularly when delivered by entertainers trying to reach 15 year olds.  There is one video, however, that has been quite different, and that is Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns.  Here is his testimonial on bulllying, growing up gay, and the problems he faced.

I saw bullying when I was a kid growing up in the '80s, but I do not recall it being like this.  There was certainly homophobia, especially amongst boys and even more so for athletes, but I do not remember anything like these cases.  Maybe it was because there was a lack or prevalence of a national gay rights movement, at least in my childhood years, but I wonder how much of this is fueled by technology and the internet (just look at the toxic wasteland that is a Yahoo message board)?  Or it could be these things did happen back in the pre-internet days and we just did not know about it as much?   There was bullying, alright, but the "different" targets of the football squad in those days were usually the geeks and punks, periodically anyone outside of the jock/prep/in-crowd.  Regardless, the sustenance of this abuse, which is what it really is, remains both sad and upsetting.  We are still stuck in the middle ages in the cliquishness of secondary schools in this country, in which the so-called popular and successful kids use their status on the pecking order to tear down those perceived to be our untermensch.

Remember when after the Columbine massacre, parents and educators declared that we needed to end the bullying culture in our high schools?  That was in 1999.  It obviously has not changed.

Meanwhile, the ex-Marxist-turned-right-wing-libertarian thinks Christine O'Donnell is a pragmatist, based on her demurring of past beliefs as "irrelevant" when compared to the Constitution.  Yes, that really nullifies her view that masturbating is adultery, lying to the Nazis is wrong, and that rape victims should be forced to have their babies (then again, Mr. Cockburn thinks progressives are too obsessed with wanting to kill embryos).  Those are just a few of the various beliefs and attitudes that Ms. O'Donnell still holds to this day.  Real pragmatist there, eh, Alex?

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