Romney — Can We Trust Having A Bully In The White House?
By John Herd
May 10, 2012
Reading about Romney’s boyhood tormenting of gay classmates in the following article (below) really pissed me off on many levels.
Romney’s defensive statements in the article seem to show that the man is a blatant liar; he claims not to remember the multiple noted incidents yet [amazingly] he does remember that he didn’t know the victims of his abuse seemed to be gay? Give me a break. His selective memory is not believable.
Romney went on to say, “I tell you I certainly don’t believe that I … thought the fella was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s. That too pins the BS meter at the top of the scale. There is a reason gays were so profoundly in the closet in the 60s; there was huge intolerance of homosexuality back then. That intolerance was deeply rooted in many people’s minds in those years.
I went to a high school in a very affluent town in Massachusetts during the 60s. It’s actually Romney’s home town. Most people in the town back then would have described me as a politically active outspoken radical. I repeatedly took part in demonstrations against the Vietnam war. I also formed a corporation with a friend to help people get to the large anti-Vietnam war demonstration in Washington DC. Such activities were a poke in the eye to students who expected to be drafted and were in favor of the war.
The town was also very politically divided. There was a liberal sector, in part because at the time the town had the highest per capita number of university and college professors of any town in the US. So too did the town have a very conservative sector. Unfortunately the town was home to the extremist politically far right John Birch Society. In those Vietnam war era years the tension between conservative and liberal people there was very palpable.
The day Martin Luther King was assassinated I participated in leading a school walkout in which we planned to all go to local churches to show support for the black community. We had one black student in our school who came from the one black family in our town. This action was more than just distasteful to racially intolerant prejudice people in our town.
Those of us who partook in the walkout were immediately expelled from the school. An open town meeting took place to decide if we should be allowed back to school or remain expelled. When the town selectmen order a policeman to remove a black man who was speaking at a microphone the meeting almost turned into a riot. Due to the political tension and potential bad PR for the town it was finally decided we would be allowed to come back to school.
Being known as a long haired marijuana using hippie also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way despite my working with my parents and other influential people in town to create a drug crisis center and hotline.
Our town was also very economically divided between the haves and the have nots. There were ever present tensions between many students due to the economic differences. I came from an affluent family who lived in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in our town. In fact I actually attended a very exclusive summer arts program at Cranbrook, the same school where Romney tormented his fellow students. Coming from that kind of affluence also made me unpopular with some of those who were not lucky enough to be as well off.
All these things put me in the crosshairs of bullies like Romney.
In school and after school I was jumped and beaten up weekly by gangs of kids for my political views, for refusing to stop being friendly to the one black student in our school, for being a hippie and a “druggy,” and for my affluence.
I was beaten unconscious by a room full of kids and might not have survived had a very large friend not wandered into the room. I ended up in the emergency department of a local hospital. Another time I was beaten up on my way home from school. Despite bleeding considerably and unable to walk, no one passing by came to help. I had to crawl over a mile to my home. I had a student threaten to kill me as he chased me with a knife. We later got into a car chase in which he intentionally slammed his car into my stopped car. That kid ended up in jail.
The school officials [who clearly didn’t like me due to what I politically represented] would take no action against the students who committed these various assaults. The school claimed it couldn’t protect me while I was in school.
Those were in some ways tough years; they would have been far tougher had I not felt very secure in my political views and absolutely committed to them.
Although I lived those years with a constant level of fear, I can remember thinking that I was far better off than the students who were constantly bullied because the showed some effeminate traits or were considered less than macho. In the 60s kids like that were tormented continually and ruthlessly.
So for Romney to say, “That [homosexuality] was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s” is an absolute crock. A bully is a bully and there are no worse bullies than homophobic bullies.
Romney’s actions reveal his inner character. Some aspects of a person’s character may transform over time but other aspects don’t. Being inclined to the kind of aggression involved in his noted kinds of bullying are not apt to change over time. How on earth could we trust that kind of bully to sit in the most powerful seat in the country?
Additionally, because a bully has a very broken sense of compassion, and because Romney has repeatedly shown that he lacks a real connection with and possibly compassion for the other 99% of us Americans, how can we possibly trust him to him to act compassionately about matters that may influence our well-being?
More than any other aspect of Romney’s history and political views, learning of this bully aspect of his personality convinces me that we can not allow him to become president.
Romney apologizes for hurtful high school pranks
By Sarah Huisenga, Matthew Shelley
May 10, 2012 12:55 PM
(CBS News) OMAHA, Nebraska — Mitt Romney repeatedly apologized Thursday for pranks he played in high school that may have offended or hurt other students, even though he said he does not remember them. The apologies came in a Fox News radio interview that host Brian Kilmeade said was lined up because Romney wanted to discuss a Washington Post story about the incidents.
The Post story led with a vivid description of Romney repeatedly clipping the hair of a young man – presumed to be a homosexual – while other classmates pinned him to the floor, as the victim screamed for help and his eyes filled with tears. “I don’t remember that incident,” Romney told Kilmeade. “I tell you I certainly don’t believe that I … thought the fella was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s. So that was not the case. But as to pranks that were played back then, I don’t remember them all but again, high school days – if I did stupid things I’m afraid I gotta say sorry for it.”
The Post’s article details Romney’s teen-age years spent at Cranbrook, a prestigious prep school in Michigan, and focuses on the many pranks played by the future presidential contender. Several were harmless but others are remembered as cruel, insensitive or frightening to the victims.
The hair-cutting incident was confirmed by five of Romney’s classmates who described the event as “senseless, stupid, idiotic” and “vicious.” Candy Porter was the victim of a well-known prank in which Romney and his Cranbrook friends posed as cops, complete with fake siren and badges, and pretended to bust some friends and their dates. Porter told the Post she was “terrified.”
Romney was also remembered as having shouted “Atta girl!” when another closeted gay student tried to speak up in the classroom. Romney said he did not recall that incident. “You know there are a lot of times, my guess is at a boys’ school when one of the boys do something and people say ‘hey atta girl,’… I had no idea that he was gay,” Romney explained when asked about the comment. He again apologized for having offended anyone, saying no harm was intended.
When asked if the Post’s article was meant to show that he grew up in an intolerant environment, Romney was quick to say that he did not, and he pointed out that the sexual orientation of the people referenced in the story was not known when they were all in high school. “I had no idea that this person might have been gay,” Romney said, “and the article points out I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks in high school and some may have gone too far and for that I apologize.”
Romney acknowledged that his propensity for pranks and causing a bit of trouble changed when he met his future wife, Ann, while he was still in high school.
“There’s no question you know I became a very different person as I meet Ann,” he said. “So I went off and served as a missionary for my church. I mean there are elements in life that change you. I’m a very different person than I was in high school, of course. I’m glad that I learned as much as I did during those high school years.”