It’s time for it to stop!

Have courage, speak out

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION -

Bully, as a noun: A per­son who uses strength or power to harm or in­tim­i­date those who are weaker; and as a verb: To use su­pe­rior strength or in­flu­ence to in­tim­i­date (some­one), typ­i­cally to force him or her to do what one wants.

Much has been said by stu­dents and ed­u­ca­tors about stop­ping bul­ly­ing in the schools. But school cam­puses are not the only place bul­ly­ing — in­tim­i­da­tion — oc­curs.

Sto­ries in the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional news tell of men in power who used their po­si­tion to sex­u­ally ha­rass women. Ac­cord­ing to the news ac­counts, many women suf­fered from bul­ly­ing for decades and were afraid to speak.

Sadly, over the past decade of ob­serv­ing and re­port­ing on pub­lic busi­ness in north­east Ben­ton County, I’ve seen bul­lies in ac­tion and the same tale hap­pens again and again. Peo­ple qui­etly suf­fer un­der the tyranny be­cause they can’t af­ford to lose their job or they may even think he (or she) has a right to be a tyrant. Too of­ten, they suf­fer in si­lence, cry­ing only to their close fam­ily mem­bers or friends be­cause they don’t want some­one to think ill of them.

Again and again, we have been told that peo­ple left po­si­tions, ei­ther elected, hired or appointed, be­cause of the brow­beat­ing and tor­ment­ing of the bully’s dom­i­na­tion. But, each were afraid to speak on the record.

That’s how bul­lies main­tain power.

One bully in par­tic­u­lar ac­tu­ally spoke to a per­son’s work su­per­vi­sor, com­plained about them and forced, through in­tim­i­da­tion, that per­son to not at­tend pub­lic meet­ings on per­sonal time.

It’s time for it to stop. It’s not about be­ing mean.

It’s not about re­venge. It’s about ap­pro­pri­ate bound­aries and mu­tual re­spect.

Each of us has a job to do and each of us an­swers for our­selves.

Each elected of­fi­cial stands ac­count­able to the vot­ers who elected him or her. Charm and per­sua­sive­ness can get a per­son elected, but char­ac­ter is soon re­vealed in the test of time and the cru­cible of hard work. When that char­ac­ter is flawed by an in­flated sense of self-im­por­tance, it’s time for that elected of­fi­cial to leave of­fice.

Elected of­fi­cials are ser­vants of the peo­ple.

Their salaries are paid for by the taxes of hard­work­ing cit­i­zens.

They are not of a higher class or greater im­por­tance than any of the peo­ple who elected them, whom they should be serv­ing.

It’s time for the vic­tims of op­pres­sion to rec­og­nize their own value, speak out and shed light on the cow­ardly in­tim­i­da­tion of bul­lies. It’s time to speak out.

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