“[U. S. citizens] had the courage to believe your voices could make a difference.” President Barack Obama, New Year’s address
The Time magazine 2011 Person of the Year was a composite person entitled “The Protestor.” The primary voices were those opposing injustice (Arab Spring), and those protesting corruption (Occupy Wall Street).
In this country, I’m wondering if the Occupy movement will spark a revolution of another sort – one that decries the behavioral atrocities within society, within school systems, and within the workplace. I’m surprised that the following statistics haven’t prompted a public outrage and a corresponding assembly. For example:
- 35% of employees have experienced workplace bullying
- Bullying is 4x more prevalent than workplace harassment (the WBI website)
- Over 280K kids are physically attacked in secondary schools each month. The high profile cases of children who have been “bullied to death” highlight the need for a serious commitment and a national agenda [see People Magazine – Teen Suicides as a result of bullying.] Relatedly, the parents of Phoebe Prince recently settled a lawsuit with her daughter’s school district for 225K.
A preliminary search of Amazon.com using the term “bullying” yielded 2704 paperback and 744 hardcover books. On the Workplace Bullying Institute’s website, Namie notes that the U.S. is one of the few industrialized countries that does not have some type of anti-bullying legislation and consequences for bad behavior.
The U.S. is the last of the western democracies to introduce a law forbidding bullying-like conduct in the workplace. Scandinavian nations have explicit anti-bullying laws (since 1994). Many of the European Union (EU) nations have substantially more legal employee protections, which compel employers to prevent or correct bullying.
President Obama’s call to position civility on the national agenda is one of the first to signal that a movement is necessary.
I have yet to see a groundswell like Occupy to validate and support such a platform. Why has no collective assumed the mantle of “unleader” in this area? Why is there no movement to protect the destruction of our young people, and the decimation of our psyches? I would like to see 2012 be the year that our social consciousness is catapulted, and in which we craft a social agenda and corresponding legislation to curb bullying. Perhaps bullies continue unencumbered because they haven’t seen their counterpart at full blast.
In it’s description, Time Magazine notes “in each place, discontent that had been simmering for years got turned up to a boil.” Protestors railed against “overaggressive policing,” repression, inappropriate surveillance, and a lack of participation in process – all of which are representative of a larger construct known as “bad behavior,” or in the colloquial, “bullying.”
Giacalone’s powerful metaphor of a Satanic offspring who escapes hell can be applied to our own private abyss – dysfunctional spheres in which we feel disconnected, devalued, and excluded. He explains:
The bad places where we may live and work should not define us. The “bad people” we know and meet should not characterize us. Hell should not and cannot make you believe that acting divinely is bad. Risk all by refusing to agree.…Never give up. Never give in. What is good is irrepressible.