It would have been so nice to go the rest of my life without talking about Mitt Romney, but something is bugging me and I need to get it off my chest.
You may have heard that this happened, and Mittens is unsurprisingly having to deal with a lot of bad press. At first I wanted to make some keen insight into how his teenage assholery relates to his current persona as a stiff, awkward, emotion-deficient robot, but no, what’s really getting under my skin at the moment is all these Internet commenters saying things to the effect of, “Oh, what does it matter if he bullied some kid in high school? We all know he’s an asshole anyway, so who cares?” Even worse are the ones saying, “Everyone’s an asshole in high school.”
Gee, how do I answer this? How about:
Holding another kid down on the floor and going at him with a pair of scissors is not some trivial, “We all do stupid shit when we’re young” fit of adolescent indiscretion. What Romney did to the late John Lauber was an act of violence, and a terrifying one at that. I’m willing to discuss the culture at the place and time, and how Romney didn’t get to be that way all by himself, but if you think Romney’s behavior was just typical teenage-boy bullshit, then you must have run with a really bad crowd. I never did shit like that in high school (though I suppose the expectations are different for girls?), my brother didn’t act like that, and I had a whole lot of guy friends and classmates who, amazingly enough, managed to get through their high school years without acting like bullies. Anti-social behavior is not inevitable simply because a guy is between the ages of 13 and 20, and when a grown man is called out for having attacked another boy at his prep school, he should show some remorse. He should, at the very least, admit that what he did was shitty and that he’s not proud of it. Such a resounding lack of acknowledgment is especially terrifying in a man who has raised five sons.
Free us from the tyranny of low expectations.