When I was in first grade, a boy named David Lewis bullied me every day — on the school bus, in class, on the playing field. I started pretending I was sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school. My parents figured out what was going on and one afternoon, when I was busy faking a stomach ache, my father came into my room to talk to me.

“You know what bullies are the most afraid of?” he asked. “Being ignored. They can’t stand it. That’s how you deal with a bully. Let me show you. Try to get my attention.”

I started talking to him about nothing in particular, since this was clearly a demonstration, and he studiously ignored me. He looked around the room, he looked out of the window. He acted as if I didn’t exist. It was extremely uncomfortable, and I understood how it might just work with David Lewis. The next day, when I got on the school bus, I ignored the bully who had been tormenting me and it worked. He huffed his way back to his seat, left me alone, and I felt victorious and much wiser.

I know it can’t happen in this election year, but what if there was a collective agreement to ignore Donald Trump? What if, at the Democratic Convention, no one had uttered his name? Just like Michelle Obama didn’t in her exquisitely crafted speech. She alluded to him, we all knew who she was referring to, but she didn’t say his name. It was a very powerful rebuke of him. If the whole convention had gone like that, it’s my firm belief that the candidate (who will now remain nameless) would have become apoplectic. The entire world would then have seen the full extent of his narcissism. It’s worth just pondering the “what if” of this, since nothing else seems to be working. Large numbers of people are still planning to vote for him, no matter how mean he is, no matter who he bullies. Although I do have to believe that even his supporters have their limits — I hope I’m right.

The candidate who shall not be named just made cruel and bullying remarks about a grieving mother, Ghazala Kahn, whose son, a Muslim/American, died fighting for America. He was 27 and he died a hero. She stood silently beside her husband at the convention, fighting back tears, keeping her grief in check. And it is this that the candidate chooses to mock? If there were any Muslim/Americans supporting him, I think they just defected.

Here is what I wonder. What exactly is the campaign strategy? Alienate as many groups as you can and then see which ones will still show up to vote for him in November? It’s like a science experiment. I just wish the rest of us could conduct our own science experiment and ignore him.



  1. Daniel J Black says:

    Well said.

  2. Chet Rhodes says:

    You are so right, my friend.

  3. Marcus Barone says:

    Your father was an eloquent communicator . He experienced so much of life , and on both sides of the table Democrat and Republican. Hence I always voted for him even though I’m a moderate Democrat who 90% of the time votes Democrat.. With all Hillary brilliance and background, America has been pretty hard on her regarding communication skills.
    The unnamed candidate uses reality show negative sound bites to convince the unfortunate public with short term memory .
    So yes that’s a wonderful idea not to mention his name, so he “un becomes” the flavor of the day.. or our big American nightmare of him becoming president.
    A footnote please.. my ten-year-old son has been bullied for the past two years because he has a little bit of a stutter.. I intend on following the example you just mentioned by discussing this option with him..Thank you again for such wonderful insights through your writing.

  4. Luci says:

    Nailed it!

  5. Lcordovano says:

    It would also be great if the press would stop their incessant coverage of him. One of the best side affects of the democratic convention was that the press was not reporting on the unnamed candidate. I started to sleep better at night and the faith in my fellow man started to return.

  6. Erika Griesemer says:

    Well said. I hated being bullied even the age that I am. I wished this advice would be passed on to all who are running this year.

  7. Robert DuPont says:

    Very well said patti
    We need to set examples as well to our children who
    We try to teach not to bully and they see our future presidents
    Doing exactly what we try to teach our children not to

  8. Ken W .Brown says:

    Perfectly stated.

  9. Tony Marino says:

    As you always do, you’ve hit the nail right on the head Patti. I am amazed that this individual still has supporters after all he has said. I spent my whole adult life in the military and cannot comprehend how any veteran can support him. After years of voting for every Republican Presidential candidate since I turned 18 back in the 70’s I feel I have no choice but to support Secretary Clinton for the safety of our country.

  10. Tony Scruggs says:

    …(coming straight from the heart)

    If “narcissism” is lacking the skill of empathy, then as a nonbullying speaker and verbal empathy coach my hope is that one day we can get to a place where our deflector shield (in this beautiful scenario, ignoring) can somehow include empathy for both the recipient of the bullying and the author of it.

    At the Empathy Institute we actually believe that all communication (verbal & non-verbal) is either a please (call for help) or a thank you (expression of LOVE) and I yearn for the day that we can protect ourselves like you did and interrupt the pattern permanently, empathically!

    How’s that sound coming from a former pro athlete and American of African-Ancestry?⚾

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