I was delighted, indeed, honored, when Cindy Acree commented on my Facebook page about my brief post on the bullying topic. www.facebook.com/michaelsabbeth. That entry gave a link to this blog where, a few days ago, I had written about bullying in greater depth.
Cindy Acree is the State Representative of Colorado House District 40. She is currently a member of the Health and Human Services Committee – Vice Chairman, the Audit Committee and the Business Affairs Committee. I have known Cindy for several years and have volunteered on her last two campaigns. Without qualification I state that I like her and admire her and respect her.
I share a brief segment of Cindy’s biography taken from her official website, www.cindyacree.com/about-cindy-acree:
Cindy is a small business owner and mother of three. She has lived in the District over 20 years and comes from a rural background. Former chairman of the board of the largest neuroscience center in the rocky mountain region, Mrs. Acree has held numerous government appointments including: President of the Aurora City Budget Committee; Director, Cherry Creek School District Facility Planning Committee; and; an appointment by Governor Bill Owens to the Cardiovascular Health Coalition. She has served as the acting Program Coordinator of the Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Prevention Program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Cindy has a soft face, piercing blue eyes and an easy smile but she’s tough as a chocolate covered ball bearing. She has endured serious health problems—severe epilepsy that had to be treated by brain surgery and a crippling stroke. Her self-directed physical therapy included intense bicycling.
As she regained muscle activity after her stroke, Cindy completed a 539-mile ride over several Colorado mountain passes. Unable to get on and off the bicycle under her own power, her husband had to place her on the bicycle and take her off it. This isn’t just mental toughness. This is mental toughness on rocket fuel.
Cindy has been featured in many magazines on leadership, women’s health and fitness and leadership. I provide this back ground to support my point that when Cindy talks, as in the old E. F. Hutton TV advertisements, people should listen.
During our one hour conversation this morning at a local pancake restaurant in The Denver Tech Center, Cindy explained her unqualified rejection of the ideology of the teacher that held the victim of the bully who dared to defend himself as morally and administratively equivalent to the bully. Cindy’s comment on my Facebook page stated:
Bullying has become a serious problem both in school and through the internet. Our children are at risk and public policy is inadequate to protect them. Call your Congressmern (and Congresswomen) and state officials and demand we protect our children. Even in a hockey game the individual that throws the first punch is the one ejected from the game.
Relevant to my bullying topic, Cindy sees the relationship between ethical character dealing with bullies and dealing with congressional and administrative agencies. “It’s so easy to take the easy route. It’s so easy to adjust your morality so you don’t have to do anything,” she explained.
I asked what drives her, what motivates her. “Everyone picks their battles,” she replied. “I am motivated to go where some hesitate to go.” Cindy paused, searching to lasso the right phrase. “It’s more than an expediency issue, though. We must grasp that the failure to act is acting. By doing nothing, by being expedient, you aid and abet the very ideas and principles you purport to oppose.”
“It’s all about ethics and integrity. The teacher with the bully had no integrity.” Cindy adds, after a moment’s pause, “It’s easy to have a position and an argument, but when you don’t act, action becomes separated from belief; and then our beliefs mean nothing. We then have a belief system that is ineffective. It is as if such people live in a self-contained silo. Nothing influences them.”
Certainly her analysis applies to the teacher that holds the victim morally equivalent to the bully. “When we take away consequences, when we make everyone equal, the paradox is that we end up punishing everyone, the innocent as well as the guilty. And we create incentives for the bully. Bullying has no cost.”
In her politics, in her personal life, as well as in the grueling physical therapy protocol she imposed on herself, Cindy has established a message that is both personal and which she believes should public, by which Cindy means the behavior behind the message should receive incentives from our political and economic systems:
“We can find more strength within ourselves than we thought we had and we can inspire this in others. Our policies now tend to create and to perpetuate a segregated society, an envious society, the kind of society we claim to want to fight so hard to prevent. We can do better.”