By now you've heard the story about the guy who accused Romney of bullying him in high school. Some people even used that clever little picture of Eddie Munster which they *swore* was Mitt as a child. I still don't believe that it was. Anyway, Mitt was accused of some pretty bad stuff...for a high schooler. Yes, friends, Mitt was not the rich, holy Mormon man that he now is. Well, he was rich. In any case, color us all shocked.
You see, this is well placed for the accuser. It's got the gay political momentum at a time when Obama came out supporting gay marriage and Romney spoke at Liberty University (a school that teaches that Mormonism is a cult) and got a standing ovation for ’defending’ the ’sanctity’ of heterosexual marriage. Washington Post, we salute you for your impeccable timing.
Like any good politician though, Mitt came out and ’apologized’ last week. He said,
I don’t remember that incident and I’ll tell you I certainly don’t believe that I--I can’t speak for other people of course--thought the fellow was homosexual," Romney said. "That was the furthest thing from my mind 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, why I’m afraid I got to say sorry for it.
Romney didn't really apologize. Like any good politician, his ’apology’ was little more than a political move to remove the media's attention toward him.
Here's the thing. I think he made the wrong move. The issues that will occur this political season are: the economy, gay marriage, jobs, gay marriage, the economy, gay marriage, and maybe a little medical marijuana. And oh yeah, there might be some attention given to bullying.
But bullying, as we understand it, characterizes us. No one is surprised that rich 17-year-old Eddie Munster, err...Romney was a privileged child. No one is surprised that Eddie, err...Mitt led a group at beating him up. Mitt as a bully is, well, a bully.
Surely Mitt has to realize that bullying is a problem. Surely Mitt has to realize that his involvement in this incident paints a picture, a very certain kind of picture. Surely Mitt understands this.
So, why not just admit it? Why not say "You know, I did a lot of stupid things and this was one of them. I remember this incident and for it I am deeply, deeply sorry. Bullying (no matter the reason) is a troublesome thing and is tearing our youth apart. If one cannot trust their classmates, who can they trust? I was part of the problem. Now I want to be a part of the solution. Bullying is wrong and it was wrong for me to do what I did. I am deeply sorry for contributing to the immense problem bullying is having on this world. I want the world to know that as President of the United States, I'll do anything I can to fix it."
Does this mean that Mitt doesn't understand the issue? Does this mean that Mitt doesn't understand the critical nature of the issue? Does this mean that Mitt heard ’gay’ before he heard ’bully’?
In fact this story DOES say something of Mitt's character. Or, at the very least, his attention. I want to like Mitt, but I think he's going to have to do something to step down to our level if he's to be a good President.
Not just in money, not just in justice. He's going to have to realize...in all fullness...what it is like to be a normal American.
Obama preaches to the normal Americans. Mitt doesn't. That's deeply problematic for the Republican party this election period.