I’m not really sure how to categorize this post. I guess I’m going to put it under The Ridiculous or the Great (though not mutually exclusive), however, it is neither. Actually no, the senator in the video, Gretchen Whitmer, is great. I’m inspired that she had the courage to speak so frankly about this bill. The purpose of the legislation, which passed (http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/michigan-gop-pass-bullying-bill-giving-license-to-bully/politics/2011/11/03/29580) is difficult to understand and very saddening to me. It’s also very disappointing. Do I think that a piece of legislation can bring an end to all forms of bullying? No. Do I think that a piece of legislation can help to reduce bullying in our schools? Yes. Do I think this piece of legislation will protect vulnerable students from bullies? No. Do I like posing questions to myself on a blog that no one is reading? Yes.
Personal questions aside, I don’t understand how the Michigan Senate could have missed the mark so significantly when drafting this bill. I suppose we just have very different marks. I do believe that governments should work to protect their citizens, however, it’s not the only way the most vulnerable in our societies can be protected. We need to educate. Though a better drafted anti-bullying bill could aid in quests to educate young people about the effects of bullying, Senator Whitmer and the publicity she has received show that even in the face of defeat, we must never give up the fight (poor choice of words? Perhaps.)
The irony of the language in this legislation is also worth mentioning. I would really like a senator from Michigan who voted in favour of this legislation to explain to me an incident where bullying is “moral”.
Moral: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical
Bully: a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
I do fully understand the legislation’s intended purpose and I’m sure in some sort of Orwelian double think kind of way they all know the ridiculousness of this language as well. However, without it they would have to acknowledge the human rights of the people they’re not willing to grant those rights to (see:the LGBT community).
In an attempt to add some positivity to this story, I hope that what this bill creates is more Gretchen Whitmers in the world. People who can identify and quite eloquently explain why something like this bill is so problematic and have the courage to have their voices heard.
You may have lost this battle Gretchen, but I am confident that, one day, your voice and your message will prevail.