October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time of particular importance to parents and educators seeking to raise awareness of the cruelty of bullying and its devastating impact on young victims’ lives. Interestingly, the month also falls in the middle of a contentious season in which bullying of a political sort continues to all but paralyze our national Capitol.
With a little luck – and no thanks to bully-in-chief Ted Cruz – the federal government may stay open for another couple of months, providing paychecks to thousands of everyday, working people who perform hundreds of essential public services that most of us take for granted. And, critical federal funds will continue to be available for Head Start and other educational programs for millions of low-income and disabled children throughout the country.
But the reprieve comes at a cost. House Speaker John Boehner was bullied into resigning. A conservative Republican who recognized that government is a process of compromise and accommodation, Boehner finally got tired of butting heads with Cruz and other hard-right ideologues from his own party who seek election not to govern, but to pontificate, pander and destroy.
And, the reprieve is just that, a delaying action that may be lost to a government shutdown by the end of the year, as Cruz and his allies continue to bully their way through Washington.
Cruz has such little disregard for government – and the public education, health care and other critical programs it provide for millions of Americans – it almost makes you wonder why he is running for president, until you are reminded that many bullies have over-sized egos.
In the presidential race, the bully tag has been most prominently attached to billionaire egoist Donald Trump, who wears it with pride as he tries to intimidate everyone on the campaign trail. Cruz, so far, is content to bully Congress.
Unfortunately, it will take more than National Bullying Prevention Month to make either one of them sit down and shut up.