Why Does Mitch McConnell Need to Bully America? To Hide His Greatest Fear
When President Theodore Roosevelt praised the “bully pulpit,” he was using the word in an earlier meaning — to advocate something wonderful. Remnants of this usage exist today, when people say as a form of congratulations, “ bully for you!”
The word bully also has its origins in the Middle Dutch word boele, a term of endearment. Shakespeare wrote of a “bully-rook,” meaning a jolly comrade.
A third meaning, that came into frequent use around the time of the American Revolution, is that a bully is an insolent and tyrannizing sort of person, someone who likes to intimidate, to domineer, to menace others. It is this usage that comes to mind when we observe the behavior of Senate Republican Mitch McConnell. The number of times he has been reported obstructing the work of anyone who does not share his exact agenda are manifold, and his ability to harm the political careers of those who disagree with him is constantly in evidence. (Remind you of anyone else, maybe?)
Of course, a bully thrives because other people either let him, or people have no idea how to stop him. Those are the only two reasons a bully succeeds.
Bullying is the outward indicator of a mean-tempered, mean-spirited, and mean-hearted person.
But what is a bully on the inside?
Being a bully is also the outward stance of a deeply insecure human being, someone whose only way to feel better about himself is to get the other guy before they get him — to hide and mask their fearfulness and insecurities. Anyone who brandishes a gun to make point does not feel adequate on their own — they need the feeling they are powerful that the gun makes them think they have.
The Mayo Clinic describes a bully this way:
“A mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
Now, we have a president who fits that definition and assessment perfectly, but we have in Mitch McConnell the same qualities only with the addition of an element that Trump does not have — an intellect — and one that knows exactly what to do and how to do it in a way that gets him the results he has already set up in his political agenda,
including, and most harmfully, dividing America at any cost.
Trump delivers harm when he acts out his anger almost all the time and largely out of ignorance, without thought, without the slightest empathy or regard for consequences. His whim is his guide and his tweets show us how fragile he really is with their meandering explosions. McConnell, on the other hand, reminds me of a modern day Machiavelli, a primal bully whose praise of immoral leadership like that of the Borgia family is well known. When he wrote the political treatise The Prince in the 1500s, Machiavelli declared that any deceit and connivance and punishment that harms the citizens of a country was sometimes required to secure and sustain power. This is a behavior that is embraced and taken as gospel by Mitch McConnell.
A quote from The Prince: “Politics have no relation to morals.” Machiavelli saw political opposition the way we think of a video game. He saw politics as the perfect place for unscrupulous behavior — for deceiving the people, for defying morality, and for committing necessary (useful) crimes. He also declared that
“a ruler who is establishing a kingdom or a republic, and is criticized for his deeds, including violence, should be excused when the intention and the result is beneficial.”
What Machiavelli saw as beneficial was anything beneficial for the ruler, not the people. When McConnell blocked President Obama’s ability to appoint someone to the Supreme Court, it was a perfect Machiavellian move to ensure his own long-term agenda to have the opening on the bench filled by a Republican. He has been primarily responsible for the increasingly damaging and un-democratic move to make the Supreme Court totally partisan. A far cry from the way we were:
“In 1956, less than a month before the presidential election, Supreme Court Justice Sherman Winton retired, leaving Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower with an opening to fill. Eisenhower chose William Brennan, a Democrat, to fill the seat as a recess appointment and submitted him as his nominee to fill the seat on a permanent basis. Eisenhower’s conciliatory bet paid off, and he won the 1956 election in a landslide. A few months later, Brennan was confirmed by a voice vote.”
McConnell as “bully” is a rather vicious demonstration of our now dysfunctional political system. He processes his agendas one by one, bit by bit, in a way that speaks to our worst side as a country, not our best.
For Mitch, anything that helps the Republican party — and him — gain supreme control is good — anything else is bad, and must be pushed down and defeated, the opposition pulverized.
Yes, he has chosen to divide America, and we seem to be letting him — and his boss — do exactly that.
We can stay silent — it’s easier — and these days, safer. But if we want a better world for our children and their children, it’s very much the real time now to stand up to the bullies, this one in particular. How? By not staying silent.
By realizing we can say no to the bullies among us in a letter or email or forum. By our daring to do that. If enough of us do, the bullies will deflate like balloons, because in reality they have no substance:
They are filled not with hot air, but with a sad unconscious and terrifying fear they might be found out as wanting and no one would notice them.
Well, we could help the bully with that, actually, with their getting noticed. Just two hundred thousand letters (even 50,000) objecting to the bully behavior would do it. Congress would have to notice such a thing, even though they don’t want to. Everyone would notice such a thing. The bully would not be able to hide. They would have to face the very music they fear.
Sharing this article is one way. Writing an article of your own is another, wonderful way. But even just speaking about the subject helps. It’s that ripple effect, which is how most change happens, not overnight,, but bit by bit because you are participating in a process that won’t stop once begun.
A bully has no power except the power we give him. We are the real power. Sometimes this is hard to remember or believe, I know well. But it is so. The world always lets go of its sad, destructive, fearful bullies eventually. When we, the people out here, say yes to that happening.