Letter: Constructive criticism never hurts



In his recent re-election announcement, Mayor Tim Leavitt claimed he is being bullied by his opponents.

In a March 2 opinion, “Justices Sotomayor, Kagan take on high court’s bullies,” Dana Milbank reports Justice Antonin Scalia is branded a bully for his opposition toward left-leaning Supreme Court colleagues. So, have the politically prominent really joined schoolchildren as major victims of bullying?

Neither Leavitt, nor columnist Milbank, specify what they mean by “bullying.” Certainly “wedgies,” punched noses, or stolen lunch money are not at issue here. Instead, such bullying all references acts of (gasp!) … criticism: complaints about Leavitt’s flip-flop on Columbia River Crossing tolling, critiques of progressive jurisprudence’s disregard of the Constitution’s original meaning.

While Leavitt’s rhetoric, and Milbank’s text, portray their so-called bullies as being vanquished, the mere fact that supposedly mature adults characterize reasonable criticism about important matters as if it were abusive and illegitimate bullying reveals a breathtaking, and tyrannical, arrogance.

That persons in positions of power liken criticism to bullying — which renders its victim’s powerless — is both superficially ridiculous, and deeply revealing: It betrays a sense of vulnerability felt by both Leavitt and Scalia’s opponents, rooted in their own perceived incapacity to defend themselves adequately against their critics.

John Burke