I begin with this: we don’t have to agree with everyone about everything. But we must be respectful of each other’s point of view. This simple notion, long the tenet of American society, seems to have gone to the dogs. Ruff…ruff…rough.
Rough is what we all seem these days. We’ve, like dogs, separated into packs: staunch Republicans, die-hard liberals, and somewhere in the middle a bunch of stray blue-dogs, if you will, who have wandered.
And then there is Mitt Romney, top dog of the current Republican Party, their candidate to lead the pack that hopes to unseat President Barack Obama. Obama’s somewhat in the doghouse these days due to an uncompromising economy, not helpful to his hope to remain chief dog.
About Mitt Romney, he’s no mutt. He presents himself as a pedigree: well-mannered, well-educated, well-bred, and oh, so successful. No doubt he’s a handsome puppy, which ought to garner him a pack of votes because the animal instinct of most human beings is to be attracted to the best-looking dog.
But there is a character issue that has dogged Romney since the start of his campaign – no, not the one about his flip-flopping – but instead the one about his intolerance to those who don’t share the Romney pedigree and all that it means.
The character issue, one of intolerance, apparently surfaced early in Romney’s privileged life. A recent Washington Post story revealed that senior high school student Mitt Romney didn’t much care for a soft-spoken (code description for gay back in the day) new student at the prestigious Cranbrook School, John Lauber, also deemed a non-conformist. When Lauber returned to school after a vacation with bleached-blonde hair, which seductively draped over one eye, it was too much for the upper-crust, high school senior, the un-MITT-igated bigot Romney.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” a riled Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school pack shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another.
Is it fair to judge the character of the adult Romney by the acts of a high school senior? If you don’t think so, it is worth noting that Team Romney’s reaction to the incident as revealed most definitively fails the character test.
Laughing non-denials and a half-assed “if I hurt anyone” apology in response to charges of violence and violation is the hallmark, not just of a bully, but of the culture that enables them. And laughing off the incident is exactly what Romney and his team attempted to do.
Did Romney also lie? He said he doesn’t remember the incident. WTF? Doesn’t remember the incident? He doesn’t remember leading a pack of assaulting students with sharp implements?
He’s also made the claim that he didn’t think that the soft-spoken, bleached blonde guy he attacked was gay (so he did remember?). What? Did bigotry against sexual orientation just begin today? No. Bullies like Romney were attacking what they called “faggots” long before Romney’s violent attack against a closeted homosexual. Finally, what kind of person isn’t quite sure “if I hurt anyone” by holding down a whimpering young man and chopping off his hair?
Romney makes me want to howl, and so I will now at the latest revelation about Romney and his disdain for the LGBT community.
Hear me. I’m howling. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWLING!
As reported in the Boston Globe, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s administration in 2006 blocked publication of a state anti-bullying guide for Massachusetts public schools because officials objected to use of the terms “bisexual’’ and “transgender’’ in passages about protecting certain students from harassment, according to state records and interviews with current and former state officials.
Suppressing the guide’s publication was among steps that Romney and his aides took during his last year in office to distance the Republican governor from state programs designed to specifically support gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. His critics said it was part of an effort to court social conservatives as he prepared for his first campaign for president in 2008.
Pretty lame excuse for not standing up for the LGBT community, as a man of character would. What kind of man wouldn’t?
A hound dog.