Just don’t. Standing up for yourself will not stop them. Reasoning with them will not stop them. Even ignoring them does not stop them.
I have many conservative friends on my Facebook account. I know some are right-winged due to their repeated political posts which I often disagree with. However, I rarely feel attacked when I respond. But one (I’ll call him “Buck”) was blocked some time ago because his comments are often hateful,mean-spirited, flat out cruel, and always politically motivated. I decided I was best not seeing his posts, so I kept him as a friend and blocked his activities. That was not the smartest thing for me to do, because I could still see his responses to politically motivated posts of mutual friends.
I’ll call one mutual friend Ed. Ed’s a great guy; I’ve always liked him, and even when we disagree, we remain friendly. Buck has never been this way. I think Buck bullies because people disagree with him, and that just makes them sick and wrong (in his vociferous opinion). However, disagreeing with someone (even vehemently), is never cause for bullying.
Recently, Ed posted a statement from Teddy Roosevelt that I really wanted to respond to. It began like this:
The first unnamed responses came from someone else.
I learned pretty quickly that no matter what the argument was, there would be no disagreeing with Buck, because he wasn’t listening. I didn’t jump in until Buck had already made blatantly racist comments. I wondered how Native Americans fit into his equation, so I put my comment on Teddy aside, and asked. (Dumb, I know.) I thought his response was downright cold, but I wanted to make sure that I understood him correctly. People define things differently, and I was hoping I was wrong.
I looked up the redundant in an online dictionary, copied the definition I hoped was wrong, and pasted it into my comment. To my relief, I was wrong about Buck’s personal definition and he wanted to make sure that I knew it, and that I knew exactly what he felt about my attempts at political correctness. I hate being mimicked (who doesn’t?), but of course, he knew that. But I am pretty dang sure that most Native Americans do not see themselves as part of Teddy’s (or Buck’s) definition of “American” either.
I really wanted him to answer my question: What was Teddy’s definition of “America?” My whole argument hinges on Roosevelt’s definition, and I was totally sure that Buck agreed with Teddy. Buck was determined not to cooperate, but I didn’t want to turn a political debate into a full-blown fight.
Instead of answering my question, he turned the tables on me, pulling my race into it. I ignored the slur, and gave what I believed to be a clearly opposite definition from Roosevelt’s (and Buck’s). But his response showed a complete disregard for my answer.
Instead of shaking my head, what I really wanted to do was ask, What-the-hell kind of debate is this?
It wasn’t a debate. He was so busy putting me down, that I never did get an opportunity to state my opinion. Once I realized that Buck wasn’t going to quit, I decided to call it quits. Ed put an end to it by starting at the beginning, and I had no intention of going through it all over again.
I decided to try one more time on a different (yet strangely similar) subject a couple of days later. Clearly, Buck was never going to listen to me, so I decided to use the words of someone he respected. It didn’t work.
I decided to add another Republican voice. He still claimed it was my argument, adding a jab at my intelligence.
I was done with him, and I wanted to him to know that I realized that this was a useless debate. I added a voice I respected this time.
Once again, Ed intervened, but this time Buck wasn’t giving in so easily. He tried to use my own argument against me (for the umpteenth time? I lost count.), once again, trying to insult my intelligence. I tried to keep it respectful, but by this time I was pissed! He didn’t even get that he was proving Robert Reich’s point as he “rested his case.”
There was absolutely no stopping him.
I once asserted that the adult bully doesn’t know (s)he’s a bully. I’m still asserting it. It’s sad that they can’t see it. The goal of a bully is to make you think and act exactly the way they do. It ain’t happenin’. You know it. I know it. They are frustrated by it, and all the more determined to make you change.When they start doing it in public, they come out the worst for it in the eyes of everyone watching. I’m embarrassed to admit that Buck is a Mormon.
There was still no answer to my question, and I’m determined that there will be. So next Friday , we get to talk about Theodore Roosevelt’s definition of “American.” Without interruption this time.