Bullying Knows No Bounds




Remember that one?

Don’t strain your brains, people. It didn’t happen in the last 12 ½ seconds. Allow me to refresh your memories (and no, I’m talking about the classic song by The Cars).

That was the moniker of the initiative taken by former First Lady Michelle Obama to, basically, get kids to eat better and exercise more. Although she was slated to become a civilian after her husband’s two terms in office, the end goal of “Let’s Move!” was to reduce childhood obesity to 5 percent by 2030.

It was benign, and universal, enough.

No matter your creed, let alone political leaning, it seemed like something everybody could get behind.

Even those who immediately “wanted their country back” a split second after her husband was elected.

The wimpy Democrats rarely, if ever, criticized Laura Bush’s reading initiative (and it’s not like there weren’t chances, given her husband was not exactly coming across as the second coming of Socrates).

Yet, a core of Republicans, that same bitter-to-the-core group that helped elect your president (not mine), wouldn’t let the “Let’s Move!” thing go.

That brings us to the current First Lady, the one we all know by her first name of Melania.

A former “model,” and an immigrant, is somehow beloved by the same core group who stresses family values and hate on immigrants.

This is the same core group that ripped Mrs. Obama for wearing sleeveless dresses and consider Melania “classy” by comparison.

When Melania said her initiative as First Lady was anti-bullying, particularly on the Internet, the irony was not lost on most of us with functioning brain cells.

Nonetheless, it was a righteous cause – even it was not an original idea – so we wimpy liberals continued to leave it alone.

Well, after her husband’s constant online bullying went a step too far recently, as he mocked and taunted Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on the heels of her stirring speed to world leaders at the United Nations, this liberal with a heart more hardened than bleeding is not going to let it ride.

The rest of you can put on your Earth shoes and fantasize about some impeachment that Pres. Teflon will somehow wiggle out of. Good luck with that one.

I’ll focus on the continued, and unchecked, bullying that flies so much in the face of his wife’s campaign.

Thunberg’s impassioned plea on the issue she knows inside-out and upside-down concluded with the following: “You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Your president (not mine), who pretends to deny climate change in deference to industrial polluters – just like he turns a blind eye to gun violence in deference to the NRA – could have taken the high road.

There were 1,001 different ways he could have done so while not agreeing with Thunberg.

But that’s not how bullies roll.

Instead, he took to Twitter: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

While not as below the belt as he can go, the sarcastic mockery while trolling a teen is, well, a bit disturbing.

Even by his non-standards.

When leaders behave like this, others follow.

Thunberg was mocked on the state-sponsored network, Fox, when a guest commentator, a putz named Michael Knowles, called her “mentally ill” in a clear reference to her having Asberger’s syndrome (highest level on the autism scale).

Knowles continued his assault, saying, “She is mentally ill. She has autism. She has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has selective mutism. She had depression.”

While Fox shamed him into an apology, he continued ripping her on whatever smear site he writes for. Whatever he wrote there, in his own little bottomless pit, isn’t worth repeating.

Other pundits, while not going that far, have said that Thunberg is a pawn for mysterious forces on the far left.

What’s really going on here? No one can counter the scientific evidence, and the passion Thunberg brings in explaining the urgency of climate change, so she gets mocked and bullied instead.

This is what it has come down to when leaders, like your president (not mine), refuse lead.

It would seem our First Lady needs to go back to the drawing board with her stated agenda, and it starts on the home front. Meanwhile, with the “house on fire,” as Thunberg accurately states, the next move is clear.

Let’s Move!

This Column appeared in The Times Herald on Sept. 29, 2019.

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