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Of bullies, drinking, & public prayer

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POSTED November 7, 2013 11:14 p.m.

I hate it when the conservatives are right.

 And no, I am not talking about Obamacare. There is a difference between being right and rigging the game as has happened with the Affordable Care Act. Those against it have done all they could to make it fail, and now that it is having problems finding traction, they act surprised? Indignant? Please.

 No, I am talking about a conservative mantra which has finally been proven painfully true – we are raising a nation of veal calves.

 I grew up with a number of mantras hurled at me by my parents, all of which at the time could be puzzling or downright annoying, but when looking back at them it turns out that each and every one was right on point.

 Probably the one I heard most frequently was, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

 My mother would also quip, “He who angers you, conquers you.”

 And at the time, they did not provide much solace from the bullying that I was receiving. I have been bullied my whole life – to this day people think it is cute to make fun of my weight. It is not cute – it hurts. While it does not happen as much as it used to, I still hear the whispers and chuckles, and although I would like to grab the pinheads doing it by their throats and slam them into the wall, I either ignore it or laugh it off. But it does not hurt any less.

 The bullying has not been limited to my weight. When I was in the service, sometimes being White did not serve me well. Quite often I would walk into a gym on the weekend where there were eight pick-up games going on at once and I would be the only White person in the gym. I just wanted to play basketball, and that could prove to be quite a hurdle. But I always did what I came to do, narrow-minded bigots be damned.

 As an adult, I have been the butt of many a joke when I have refused to drink at social gatherings. “What’s the matter, are you a wimp?” would be one barb. “Can’t handle it?” would be another insult. The answer to both would be, “Yes. My father was an alcoholic and I found myself headed that way when I was in the military, so I made a conscious decision not to drink. But it is really none of your flipping business why I chose not to drink, so my answer of `no’ should suffice.”

 While I have wanted to write about this for a long time, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the recent bullying incident in the National Football League where the one offended left his team and the offender was suspended.

 These are men who get paid millions of dollars to beat the stuffing out of each other and two of them cannot settle a spat without one running home to his parents and the other being booted off the squad?

Like many people, as a child my dream was to play in the NFL. However, I was not given the tools to do so, and any dream I had of a post-high-school career was ended when my shoulder disintegrated while playing junior-college football. So excuse me if I have no tolerance for those fortunate enough to be given the tools and the good fortune to stay healthy enough to make those millions to do what most of us could only dream about. It is time to get the big-boy panties on and handle it.

 Another item that has bothered me for a long time and has finally made it to the forefront is prayer in a public forum. There is one answer for that – no. Even more so than corporate greed, the zealots spawned by the fringes of organized religions pose more of a threat to the world today than anything else.

 If you want to pray, by all means do so. In your home, in your church, on the street, or while in a foxhole – after all, there are no atheists in a foxhole. But one of the reasons the Pilgrims came to this country was to get away from state-sanctioned religion, and whether said sanctioning is tacit or overt, it must not be allowed. “In God we Trust” should not be on our money and “…under God” should not be in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

But those are just my opinions. What are yours? Let me know at davegcampbell@aol.com or feel free to comment on this page.    

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