Thursday, 28 October 2010

It gets better

Blessed with a robust constitution and enough genial optimism to make Pollyanna seem the grouchiest of cynics, Mr Gnome nevertheless knows a thing or two about dealing with the personal consequences of being just that little bit different from the majority.

For some it's about the beard. Others, unaccountably, feel threatened by the hat: so red, so pointy, so there. And for a tiny, but vocal, minority it's simply that he's 'not one of us'.

And though you'd hardly credit it from his jaunty demeanour, he's no stranger to the cold drench of name-calling and the harsh slap of rejection. Not nice.

Of course Mr G is also extremely (don't even think of mentioning numbers) well struck in years, and such foolishness is as water off a duck's dorsals. He shrugs and moves on, his self-esteem intact.

But he's keenly aware that things can be very different for a young gnome, taking his first faltering steps in a world so overpoweringly dominated by Human Beings.

Consequently, he's endlessly sympathetic to younger members of his 'community', who view him (to his modest abashment) as something of a role model.

No surprise then, that Mr Gnome is dismayed by all forms of taunting, bullying and persecution - whether subtly disguised, or shamelessly overt. Not fair, Not good. Not acceptable.

With all of this in mind, he is heartened by President Barack Obama's outspoken support for the 'It Gets Better' project, a response to the recent series of suicides of young people bullied and taunted by their peers for a perceived 'difference'.

The President may be having his difficulties, but when it comes to plain-speaking, heartfelt eloquence, he has (in my view) few equals.

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