A View from Lick SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Will it be a ‘bully pulpit’ or a pulpit for a bully?

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Gentle reader, as you know, there has been a widely perceived problem in this country that has come more and more to the fore over the last few years — the problem of bullying.

One of the most serious consequences of this pernicious practice has been an unacceptable number of teen-age suicides brought on by bullying, especially the bullying of youngsters who appear to be effeminate or homosexual.

There has been, and there is now, an ongoing programme on the internet to assure victims that “Things will be better.”

So, you may ask, how come it is that when it becomes public knowledge that the man who would be our president, Willard Romney, who could well be the poster-boy for all the bullies in America, has been guilty of outrageous bullying is, even so, going to get a free ride?

The story of his “super-bullying” as one of his colleagues in crime characterized it, received one brief mention on one day on the national news media, both print and oral.

He said he couldn’t dispute the story, but if he did anything wrong he was sorry, and all of a sudden everything is forgiven and forgotten and please don’t be so tasteless as to bring it up again, because we all did things in high school of which we should be ashamed.

This attitude is especially prevalent with the right-wingers — the people who are against “coddling teen-age delinquents,” who would try every young law-breaker (unless it’s their own little Johnny or Jane) in adult court and sentence them to adult penalties.

In view of the brevity of the reporting of the story, you percipient reader can be excused if you have no idea of what we are talking about, so let us recapitulate the story:
Five fellow students at the private Cranbrook School in Bloomfield, Michigan, where Romney was enrolled for some time and from which he graduated, told a reporter for the Washington Post that one of their fellow students wore his hair unusually long for the time (Spring of 1965), and seems to have had certain effeminate mannerisms.

Mitt is reported to have said something along the lines of ‘He can’t get away with that!’ and proceeded to organize a “posse” with himself as its leader.

He then led this gang to the young man, threw him on the ground and held him there while Mitt proceeded to cut off his locks.

The young man was said to have been screaming and calling for help, but the brave defenders of western civilization gave him no heed and completed their assault and battery upon his person and public humiliation on his spirit.

All five of these men, all now in their mid-60s, clearly remember the incident with shame, and all five corroborate the essential facts of the occurence.

Mr. Romney, also in his mid-60s (65) says he can’t remember the incident that his contemporaries remember so clearly, but he says he “did some stupid things” when he was in high school.

Some could interpret this to mean that bullying to the extent of assault and battery was so common with him that no single incident remains in his memory.

The impression he tries to leave and which all his supporters clearly enunciate is that this was just a juvenile high school prank.

Well friends, here’s the kicker that got no comment in the brief accounts of this incident. When he committed this act, Willard “Mitt” Romney was no juvenile.

He was born on the 12th day of March, 1947. This incident occurred in the Spring of 1965 when he was 18 years of age — an adult — supposedly a grown man subject to a man’s burden of responsibility and answerability for his acts. (We won’t go into why this grown man was still in high school, someone else might, however.)

By the definition set out in the criminal laws of any of the States in the Union, the laying on of hands and violation of the person of anyone is a crime. The threat to do so is an assault, the carrying out of the threat is a battery.

This is a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration. But being the son of George Romney, the governor of the state, son Willard got a get-out-of-jail pass then and continues to get one to this day.

It was a time when other 18 year olds were being drafted into the Army to go and die in the jungles of Viet Nam, but Mitt fought his battles with his “posse” against a young man — long-haired, maybe homosexual — whom he didn’t even have the guts to face alone, but like most all bullies needed someone else to hold the victim down, while he committed the battery.

Some to his defenders say that even if it happened (which he admits he cannot deny) it was a long time ago and there has been nothing in his recent history to show that his is a bullying nature.

No? Don’t they think that his attempt to humiliate Rick Perry by his public challenge to Perry to make a $10,000 bet displayed for all to see a bullying nature? It was an instance of financial bullying, but bullying none the less.

And by his own statement, he “likes to fire people,” a statement amply proven by his record at Bane Capital. Liking to fire people is even more belligerent than liking to hold them down and violate their persons physically.

The physical damage usually heals after a while. Some of the financial damage done to folks by firing them, often never heals.

If there were any good fearless investigative reporters working for the national media, we suspect that they could, with a little digging, uncover many other instances of Mr. Romney’s overbearing bullying nature. As the old sayings so truthfully assert: As the twig is bent, so grows the tree; the leopard does not change its spots; once a bully, always a bully; and, the child is the father of the man.

In this case the young man is the father of the older man.

Of course, the Romney supporters should be expected to defend their man, whatever his sins of commission or omission, but the representatives of the media should be more honest and dispassionate in reporting of this wrongful conduct.

And the Romney supporters ought to figure out some other defence than “youthful indiscretion”, especially since it has only been a few days since they were attacking Mr. Obama for having written that he ate dog meat when he was a young boy of 5 to 10, in Indonesia, but then when did a little hypocrisy stop these folks?

Finally, we would observe that the presidency has been characterized as a “bully pulpit,” but it is not to be a pulpit for bullies.