2018-03-09 / Letters

How do you define a bully?

To the editor:

Two weeks ago, I submitted a letter in response to one scribed by Mr. Michael Pock.

Then, last week, a letter was posted describing me as a “bully” for my rebuttal’s less than respectful tone. Question: How can I be a bully for taking on a bully?

Either Ms. Tinsman did not fully read Mr. Pock’s letter from three weeks earlier, or she concurs with his McCarthy-like sentiments. In case it’s the former, allow me to repeat what he wrote. After he quoted the preamble of the American Legion (established in 1919 – before women were allowed to vote, when Jim Crow laws were in full effect, and the KKK was fast growing as a viable political party), he wrote (The Sentry, Feb. 16, 2018): “After reading all of that, if you don’t have a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye – you should go.”

In other words, if you don’t share the exact same ideals as Mr. Pock, you should pack up and leave the USA, for no dissent will be allowed, if he has anything to say about it.

That’s the definition of a bully.

I will battle bullies whenever I encounter them, with everything at my disposal, whether it’s perceived as lacking respect or not. I strongly feel that certain attitudes do not deserve respect, as Ms. Tinsman advocates, stating that no one can say another person’s opinion is right or wrong. I beg to differ. There are many opinions that are absolutely wrong, such as President Donald Trump’s assertion after the events in Charlottesville last year, that “You had many people in that group other than neo- Nazis and white nationalists… You also had some very fine people on both sides.”

What a sorry excuse for a human being, not to mention purported leader of our country, which to me he is not.

Like the courageous Emma Gonzalez, (survivor of the Feb. 14 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and who is now an activist and advocate for gun control), I call “BS” when I read/hear something that pushes forward the agenda of intolerance and the muzzling of differing views, as supported by the likes of Mr. Pock. He is striding down the same path as others before him, whose blind allegiance to authority has been responsible for some of humanity’s most evil actions. And I will remain intolerant of intolerance, but I will staunchly defend anyone’s right to voice his/her opinion, even if it’s deplorable, like Mr. Pock’s was. However, I will not grant it respect.

And so, I’ll gladly embrace the term bully, as applied by our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, who famously coined the term “bully pulpit.” A bully pulpit is a conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to. Roosevelt used the word “bully” as an adjective meaning “superb” or “wonderful,” a more common usage at that time.

Bully for me.

William Duffy-Dufris South Portland

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