Years ago, my sons’ high school headmaster (aka. “principal”) launched a program aimed at civility.
He was concerned that kids were becoming disrespectful to adults … and to each other.
Most parents thought the idea was a bit quirky… students had no idea what he was talking about.
The guy eventually got canned when he allowed police into the school to arrest some kids who were peddling drugs … a rather uncivil behavior. (Parents thought that letting police into the school was uncivil …)
My take: the guy was a couple of decades ahead of his time.
Fast forward to today.
As near as I can tell, the anti-bullying campaigns and rhetoric have been largely pushed to the back burner … only being cameoed when there is a teen tragedy directly linked to bullying.
Why is that happening?
The bullies keep emerging as winners … and winning beats losing.
Case in point: Donald J. Trump.
OK, I admit it … the guy can be entertaining (in a WWE sorta way), his middle finger to the establishment has a natural appeal, and his theme of winning & greatness is motivating.
But, how he wins is – at its core — unsettling.
The obvious became clear to me watching one of his recent rallies.
The audience was skewed young … a lot of college kids.
Trump went on his shallow rants … and suddenly they didn’t seem so cute to me.
The realization: if you want to win, this is how you do it.
Be uncivil. Belittle people. Push and shove. Punch back.
You know, be a bully.
Not exactly the role modeling that most parents advocate.
So what? It’s just Trump, right?
Well, not really.
It’s all around us …
ISIS is winning … by terrorizing.
Street gangs are controlling neighborhoods … unchecked.
Cyber-bullies are pushing teens to suicide … and pocketing bit coins from hacked banks.
Political groups storm buildings and rallies to extort concessions.
And on and on and on …
Bottom line: Running a bunch of public service announcements won’t have much of an effect as long as the bullies keep winning … and, I mean winning big.
Maybe Trump is just a metaphor for something even bigger … a bullying train that can’t be stopped.
Think about it …