Bully (Guest Voice)
by The Magical Sky Father
I have always been “big.” A wall of boy/man that always towered above my classmates. Being a large human in a smaller aquarium does funny things to the mind and your social groups. You can easily be a bully and if you don’t mind many will try to curry your favor to enlist your services and then call themselves “friend.”
Generally I acted like many large kids. I learned early that bullying is enjoyable and even intoxicating but it is immoral and downright evil. I will admit that I still struggled with it up until I left high school but my focus had shifted to bullying bullies and “in groups” that bullied others. I did not entertain the fantasy that it was right, I found bullying intoxicating and violence utterly wonderful but I needed an outlet that I could rationalize. Beating someone into the ground, forcing them to drop their pride and crawl to not be beaten and generally being evil feels good…yet when you look in the mirror and a bit of over amp’d testosterone tones down you see only the monster that you are.
No justification exists to treat any fellow human being to such degradation and it is wise to remember that even the madness of crowds is tied directly to our more bestial tendencies right down to pack mentality and blood lust. It simply comes down to what kind of human being you wish to be and though I fall it is the journey and not the destination that is important we can always change course and start the journey to being civilized human beings.
Bullying for the last few months has been in the headlines a great deal and with the crawl down memory lane at gun point that is the Facebook realm I have found myself doing a great deal of pondering about my previous habits of being a bully. From the incidents I did for the “wrong” reasons, to the ones I did for the “right” reasons and even those I did for friends or loved ones.
It is through this lens that I view the latest newsgasm over “PREP SCHOOL GATE” as I am sure the movie will be called at some point in the “made for TV” near future. From a personal standpoint even though Romney seems to be part of psudo-accepted “in crowd” type bullying I still find it hard to hold it against him. Not only because my own hands are far from clean but because it informs me of his character though not in the way that most would assume.
The violence I believe was truly just being young and male during an era when bullying was accepted to uphold social norms (which can often slide into lynching and has many times). I also do not think that it tells us anything about how he feels about homosexuals. Of course I also do not think his stances and statements tell us anything about his feelings about homosexuals either. His “attempt” to hire a gay man for a prominent position I personally feel says that he is rather mainstream in his “personal” views but I in no way think he can be that open in his party.
Hold the barrage of anger, I do not think he agrees with the POTUS. I merely think he like many well educated and well off individuals have had a great deal of contact with many homosexuals in their lives and tend to view them much differently than say Pat Robertson. Sometimes being a politician of a party you mostly agree with means that you have to check a few of your beliefs at the door and that goes for any ideological group of any type.
What does bother me a bit about the incident is what it does tell me about Romney that I do not see any evidence of an evolution away from and how he reacted to it. Romney comes off as a prep school insider that kept the other kids in line and used a group to do that. Anyone that has gone to a middle or high school knows the types well. They are what give team captains and rich kids bad names and they usually grow out of it with the exception of the leaders who either whine about the good old days or find a profession in which they can use those same skill sets and tendencies. In short the seeking for roles of authority just makes a great deal of sense and I tend to want to avoid giving such types authority but since he is running for POTUS and I do believe a law exists that he must be that type to run for the office I will ignore that.
Romney’s non-apology though was either idiotically ham handed or pathological. I am sorry but having been a bully I am highly conscious of those I have harmed and even when it takes a bit to jostle the memory I do not try to minimize it because that is just another form of bullying. Apologize and just move on.
Of course our political culture has been utterly infected by the idiocy that is the “non-apology” though which allows a politician to act like he is apologizing while he actually dodges it in an attempt to appeal to everyone at once. I have a dream that a day will come when politicians finally understand that it actually just annoys everyone but pundits that can say “my guy apologized, your guy gave a non apology” for twelve hours on every news station.
The one thing that does bother me is that when done in packs I tend to view it as an act of cowardice since it means they could not do it alone and therefore enlisted help. I view this as an act of utter cowardice and always have and his problems with shifting positions on a whim makes me think little has changed. Lucky for Romney I think I am in the minority in that view.
The real story is that this is kind of a problem for Romney and I think a great deal of people are missing how, when they are discussing how trivial it is. First is it trivial? My friends this is Jeremiah Wright kind of trivial. This is eating dog trivial yet it is not birth certificate trivial which is a level I am sure at some point will come…if that is the election is considered to be truly competitive in the last month or two, ever after to likely be called Mormon trivial.
How is this trivial piece of useless information a problem you ask, it’s called optics, the problem is that people don’t much like Romney as a person. This is a guy that could probably lose a “fun guy to hang with” contest with Al Gore…dear me possibly even Kerry. So when the image of mister unlikable comes up as a high school insider bully it kind of cements a rather negative view of his character and ask John Hughes people tend to not side with that type of bully. Hold those guns Lone Ranger he will pick up votes from people that are angry and want to beat down long haired hippies but most of those types are already locked tightly in his voting block.
Every person that was bullied, which oddly is more than those that have not experienced it, now view Romney through a slightly different lens. That is not necessarily bad but an unliked candidate that comes off stiff or cold never wants the election to become about personality or character for good reason. Personality and character can tip an election by depressing one sides enthusiasm while increasing the other. People just do not feel compelled to vote for someone they just do not like and the more a person likes them the more passionate that they will feel about actually showing up on election day. The flip side of that coin is the opponents turn out if you come off in a negative light goes up, for a good example note that GOP voter enthusiasm seems to almost purely be about dislike of the current POTUS.
This story gives the blue team a chance to paint Romney as “that” spoiled rich kid in a way they could not with W. W had the evangelical back up team to wipe away his sins because he had repented. Romney will have trouble getting such absolution from the same groups.
The bully story coming out after the build up to the movie Bully and a day after the POTUS came out supporting gay marriage paints a stark picture of two men that if the GOP is wise they will not allow to stay painted for too long. The suspicions of the victim’s sexuality just make the picture even more dangerous as it feeds into a news cycle already in a frenzy about young gay men, bullies and where they intersect.
What is that painting you ask?
Obama the defender of equality and general nice guy against Romney the prep school bully/corporate axeman/etch a sketch.
“The Magical Sky Father resides in Portland, OR his own little city on the hill where he longs to work at Powell’s and soaks up the liquid sunshine like a native. Personal politics are Libertarian Socialist or as he likes to put it a balanced extremist. He sits atop his rain cloud typing angry rants into the blogosphere trying to keep the balance in his extreme’s.”