Monday, June 28, 2010

When Good Men Do Nothing.

Nobody"s Perfect:

Did you think I was going to pick on another politician today? Nope. I figured it was time to tell the second tale of one of my biggest Nobody's Perfect that I wish I could go back in time and correct. An error that to my own opinion of myself, was so grievous, that stealing a piece of bubble gum seems like a ripple in a wine glass of laughter.

It was eighteen years ago, and I had just gotten "engaged' to my current husband, and we had plans to merge our two kids. He had a daughter, and I had a son from a previous marriage, something as all parents of divorces know, is a task that is not always easy. And this particular day, my husband's daughter had a basketball game at her junior high school. My husband's parents were also there, and they were not exactly happy about their son marrying a ...needless to say, it was a very precarious time for me to try to make a good impression. I tend to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and I wanted to be careful.

And BECAUSE I was so concerned about making a good impression...I did not speak up.

The setting was your usual school gym...pick any gym in America. It was filled with about 500 parents who were all sitting in the bleachers...all looking lovingly down on their team of eight- year old girls, who were sitting around in a circle, where everyone could see them. The other team had not come out yet. Danny (short for Danielle, my husband's daughter) was not going to play till the next we were all just standing on the sidelines...near the court.

And heard it...the voice. In the middle of this circle of girls was this little man. And then this man, the "coach," came out and started yelling at these girls and the horror of the things he said to them, just completely shocked everyone into a great silent wall of..."OMG!" The whole arena just got very, very...quiet.

And this tiny man was yelling at those ...screaming at the top of his lungs.

"F&** you!...You little idiots. What makes you think you're so %^&special.? You are the worst bunch of losers I've ever seen. You are not going to win this game, you losers. You can't even pass the &*%&$ ball!!! "

And on, and on, and he got louder...and louder, and more obnoxious, and belligerent.

And then he started waving his arms, and cussing more..., and those poor girls, were humiliated beyond anything I could imagine. To this day, I have never heard such a put-down by anyone, man or woman, on film or anywhere else, to match this man's berating statements.

I turned to my future husband, and said, "What is that man's problem.? Why doesn't anyone stop him? Why aren't any of the men in this crowd jumping down his throat? One of us should say something...I'll say something...will you be mad if I do?"

And I was embarrassed, that my own future husband did not feel the need to do anything. He just shook his head. Don't get involved.

Not one soul stood up to that man, who acted like he was drunk, or high, or both.


And, deep down inside I was jumping with anger. I fumed...because I told my boyfriend "I can't take it. I'm not from here, I'm going to tell that man that he is a coward, and a bully, and what is wrong with everybody? "

With every single vile remark he made, I was fuming. I started prancing back and forth. I was almost ready to take the basketball and knock his him down. If my own child had been sitting there, I would have gotten out of my seat, and walked down, grabbed her hand, and told the man, "You need therapy." and we would have left. I would have taken a stand.

But, I was just a bystander.

I looked around that silent crowd...and wondered how they could let this man do this to their own children?

It was clear, there was not a single soul that had the guts to stand up to him. I wanted to, but I thought to myself, that I would have embarrassed Danny to the whole school, and it was her school, and she didn't see a bit upset about it--- but I did not want to cause trouble for her, which is why many parents do nothing...they fear the backlash would be worse.

As the man's voice dirtied the air with great booming profanities... when I realized he was going to be allowed to continue, I remember being filled with so much sadness. Had there ever been a time when a when good decent men of the community would have knocked this guy on his butt?

Those days are gone.

Have we, as a people, come to this?

I remember looking up, while the man got worse, at a beautiful stream of soft sunlight, coming in from the tiny windows high above...the sun was setting, and the light fell right on that circle of humiliating and scared young girls. It was as if God himself was trying to protect those children...and sent a light of an angle to show the damage being done and the shame of those little girl's faces, which of course made this madman's rant much more surreal.

I will never forget those poor kids having to sit through that man's insane mental beating. It was just a basketball game for God's sake. I will also never forget the people that sat there, and did nothing.

And to the day I die, I will regret that, I did not at least yell ----"Hey..pick on somebody your own size you big bully!"

I should have risked the breakup. I should have stopped that guy...said something. Because you see, in the end, my in-laws never liked me anyway. They still don't. My husband has completely disowned them, and trust's been for the best.

So, when good men and women do nothing. they always regret it later.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amfortas feels....:

... my friend Joyanna's shame.

And I recognise it.

Nobody's perfect, but we can approximate, step by step, through our regrets.

You poor human being you. Aren't we all.

I recall seeing a video some years back. It was taken on a 'home video' by someone at a park. It was a sunny day and lots of people were lying about on the grass or playing games.

A small child was splashing about in the lake in the park, only yards from where all these people were sitting.

As she drowned people stood and looked. They watched. The camera person watched.

NO-ONE ran just the few yards - I say again no more than 20 feet - to save that child.

They LOOKED. They 'alerted' one another. Thay ALL looked.

She wasn't waving. Her screams were not childish delight.

Someone lost their child that day.

We are pathetic. We 'don't want to get involved'.

We tell ourselves,"this isn't happening. If it was, others would be doing something. I must be mistaken".

The 'next man' is always faster and stronger so why try.

We don't want to 'play the hero' in case people sneer when we can't quite leap over the tall building.

We don't think we can control our anger if we remonstate with the 'coach-bully'.

We don't want to cause a scene.

We don't want to 'upset' someone we know.

Our moral courage is small and tested so rarely that it remains as for a small child rather than a practiced adult.

And we regret.

And perhaps that will redeem us.

For if we didn't feel the shame and if we didn't look back with regret, we are really lost.

That must have been a tough piece to write Joy, but I thank you for it.

It is Leadership.

Someone loves you all the more, my dear.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Joyanna Adams said...

Thanks amfortas,you made my day.

Once again, you covered all the reasons people stay glued to their seats while others need help...

And much more succinctly.

At least I know there still ARE real men in the world, because I am fortunate enough to read your thoughts every day.

I wish I could take that day back, but I have never stood by and watched this happend. From that point on, I was a regular town pest for justice.

Even if it was only for kids and dogs, and such. Now, I'm a real crank!

9:48 AM  

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