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Violence at Home

"To the Moon, Alice," Ralph Kramden would often say, his fist clenched tight under his wife's jaw. Kramden didn't mean, "to the Moon and back" as in, "I love you to the Moon and back." He meant he was going to punch her so hard that he would knock her to the Moon.

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I don't know how that was funny then. I sure know it isn't funny now. But I also know that abuse hasn't stopped with the age of the Honeymooners, in fact, you might say it is increasing, that Kramden was only an apprentice to what was to come. You might say that abuse has taken now a center, national stage.

Threatening to do violence to another, particularly one of a less advantageous position, is never a good or right thing to do. In fact, it is a cowardly thing to do. People who threaten to harm someone else are not worthy of praise, they are worthy of condemnation. They are worthy of being removed from their position of power. In the family, they are worthy of a divorce.

When bullies threaten, when bullies harm, they are always protecting something, a piece of their turf in their own minds, something they don't want you to have or something they don't want you to know or something they don't want you to say. They bully to get you to back down from doing or knowing or speaking.

The bullying is awful enough that it frequently serves as a distraction. We get caught up in the awfulness of the threat, the awfulness of the act. We forget to go back to the source, what were they protecting? While we are fighting the threat, we may forget to steel our voices and make them even louder and stronger. We may forget to vigorously pursue the truth.

Fighting the threat is good, it is even necessary, but we must remember that we are only treating the symptom and falling prey to the distraction. It is just as important to pursue that piece of turf the threat or the act, was designed to steer you away from. Things like, where's the money going? Who's getting it? Or, what were you saying that hit so close to his home that he took a swing at you to shut you up? Or, is he being unfaithful, his loyalty pledged to another? If so, he is sacrificing you for his own gain.

Vigorously fight the threat but relentlessly pursue the truth. And in the end, divorce the son-of-a bitch.

Michael Manely

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