by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 16, 2017
My entire life, I’ve always fought bullies; be they a teacher, a boss, a classmate or a neighborhood thug. I was a smart, outspoken kid, who was more or less well liked by my peers and had the confidence to fight back. I often found myself in the position to take up for someone who was in a weaker position, or without the ability to fight back. I always fought for the underdog. The kid who was different, or weak, or new to the country, or didn’t speak the language well.
I fought teachers, principals, employers, and other kids. I would use my intelligence, wit, popularity, threat of shame and sometimes the threat of physical violence as tools in my fight.
I think back once again to Dalton Trumbo’s thoughts on his many fights.
I’ve always thought of my life as a sequence of conflicts, each a separate battle, segregated in my mind under the heading, “My fight with these guys” or “My fight with those guys.” In thinking back now I realize I have regarded each fight as distinct and unrelated to the other, and have sometimes marveled how one man could have so many of them. I now realize it was all one fight; that the relation of each to the other was very close; and I am really no more combative than any other man. It just happened in my case that the original fight once undertaken, expanded marvelously into what seemed like many many fights and the most recent in a sequence of fights is actually no more than the current phase of he primary engagement. Since all men have at least one fight in their lives, and are not considered professional troublemakers because of it, the longer view reveals in me a citizen no less peaceful than his neighbors.
It’s possible, that this applies equally to me. That my original fight—that of standing up to bullies—once undertaken, expanded marvelously. It’s not the answer to all my troubles, but it could certainly be viewed as a defining motive. I’m also just a cranky misanthrope, who while despising the herd, is often quite fond of the individual.
I think people who only know me on social media, are quite surprised to meet me in person. I place a high value on personal etiquette and manners, at least my version of what constitutes good manners: empathy, compassion, civility, decency, and kindness. I might not like you, but there is no reason to be rude.
I don’t generally walk around angry. But when I’m thinking critically about a subject, my ire often comes to the surface. I’m bothered by many things in life, and when I’m writing, or arguing with a friend I trust about a topic I’m passionate about, I can get quite animated.
Which brings me to politics.