by Brent Abrahamson | May 13, 2012 - 9:43am
We have all heard the story by now. According to an article in The Washington Post, "Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents," then high school student Mitt Romney led an attack on a student who didn't look the way Romney felt that he should. The weaker student was perceived to be gay, and Mitt Romney didn't like the way the bleached blond new student, John Lauber, wore his hair. Romney took it upon himself to lead a group of boys to attack Lauber and hold him down while Mitt Romney cut the boy's hair.
The attack against the story by the right has been swift. Those who profess to believe the story dismiss it as a boys-will-be-boys prank. After all, who hasn't done things in high school that they later regret? Perhaps. But how do you even years later not even remember the incident? Bullied people remember such incidents all of their lives. Bullies, if the explanation is to be believed, have no such problem.
As I was considering this episode, I recalled an incident depicted in the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club. A number of students were placed on Saturday detention for various infractions of school rules. At one point in the movie, all the students confess to one another what they did to earn a detention. Andrew Clark, played by actor Emilio Estevez, makes this confession:
Andrew: I taped Larry Lester's buns together.
Brian Johnson: That was you?
Andrew: Yeah, you know him?
Brian Johnson: Yeah, I know him.
Andrew: Well, then you know how hairy he is. And when they pulled the tape off, most of his hair came off and some - some skin, too.
Claire Standish: Oh my God.
Andrew: And the bizarre thing is that I did it for my old man. I tortured this poor kid because I wanted him to think that I was cool. He's always going off about how when he was in school and all the wild things he used to do. And I got the feeling that he was disappointed that I never cut loose on anyone, right? So I'm sitting in the locker room and I'm taping up my knee, and Larry's undressing a couple lockers down from me. And he's kinda, he's kinda skinny. Weak. And I started thinkin' about my father, and his attitude about, about weakness. And the next thing I knew, I jumped on top of him and started wailing on him. And my friends, they just laughed and cheered me on. And afterwards, when I'm sitting in Vernon's office, all I could think about was Larry's father and Larry having to go home and explain what happened to him. And the humiliation - the fucking humiliation he must have felt. It must have been unreal. I mean, how... how do you apologize for something like that? There's no way. It's all because of me and my old man. God, I fucking hate him. He's like this mindless machine that I can't even relate to anymore.
[crying, imitating his father]
Andrew: 'Andrew! You've got to be number one! I won't tolerate any losers in this family! Your intensity is for shit! Win! Win! Win!' You son of a bitch. You know, sometimes I wish my knee would give. And I wouldn't be able to wrestle anymore. And he could forget all about me.
I believe that this exchange does give us some insight into the mind of the bully. What motivates him? Can a repentant bully have remorse?
We can't know what happened later as Andrew Clark grew up. Did he revert to bullying? Did he ever forget this incident?
What we do know is Mitt Romney, the high school boy, as a man. And his statements reveal that he grew into being an adult bully.
Who but an unrepentant bully could claim to have forgotten such a cruel act?
What kind of adult straps his dog to the roof of a car?
What kind of adult claims he likes to fire people?
What kind of adult says he is not concerned about poor people?
What kind of adult wants to amend the U. S. Constitution to restrict the Civil Rights of a segment of our population?
The fact is that some teenaged bullies grow up to become adult bullies.
As a retired middle school teacher, I have had the perspective of seeing both the teen bully and the adult bully. This is a subject I have written about several times, and lots of people seem to relate to this reality.
Mitt Romney, in my opinion, is an adult bully, not because of one act he did as a teen, but because of his actions and statements ever since.
Here is more that I have written about the adult bully.
You can decide for yourself if Mitt Romney is one or not.
©2012 The Massachusetts Observer