Monday, May 14, 2012
Romney wasn't a high school bully
However, Romney does fit the mold of someone who's a real Alpha Male, a leader, and in particular a conservative leader. He wasn't tormenting the homosexual boy--there's no sign that he physically hurt him--Romney was simply enforcing conformity to the values he believes are universal American values, which didn't include boys wearing what Romney and his buddies saw as effeminate hairdos.
And he was demonstrating his leadership skills in organizing a posse to go out and enforce this conformity--much like the morals police of Iran and Saudi Arabia do in their countries, as when Saudi morals police prevented firemen from entering a burning girls' dormitory to save the girls from a fire which wound up killing over a dozen of them.
But that was preferable to have male firemen seeing the girls not covered by burkas.
It's ironic that the most anti-Muslim Americans are the ones who are most like them.
As for Romney's bullying incident, I've seen conservatives denying it ever happened, or, alternately, claiming that what we did back in high school doesn't matter.
I shouldn't have to detail things you could do in high school that would matter now, so it's not a categorical matter-of-no-concern. The question is whether the incident in question matters today. If it happened, which I think it did from what I've read, some conservatives will secretly admire him for it, for the reasons I've detailed here.
And they can deny he's a bully because it really doesn't fit the mold of the typical bully, who isn't interested so much in enforcing social conformity as in using someone's "difference" as a pretext for expressing his sadism--his desire to be important and to matter to others by harming them and making them fear him.
They can sense that this doesn't describe Romney. Even his ruthless destruction of political rivals (usually through surrogates while he smiles and acts all reasonable-like) shows no signs of his taking pleasure at the destruction. He's just clearing obstacles to his God-given right to rule us.
It's also worth noting that morals police in some Islamic countries also regard themselves as moral, honorable people, working to help build an ideal socieity--one in which everyone toes the line.
An article in Slate about Romney's own Morals Police incident added something interesting: in a comparable circumstance, George W. Bush stood up for the different-looking guy. You can see it here.
That's doubly interesting. One, it gives some credence to Bush II actually being a Compassionate Conservative in some ways. Two, it says something nice about a conservative. I haven't read many articles in conservative magazines that say something nice about a liberal.
And it does highlight something unusually heartless about Romney. No, that's not it. He's obviously a nice guy to those within his inner circle. Perhaps it's that his personal priority stack puts Order on top, much as I get the impression it does for Supreme Court Justices Alito, Thomas and Scalia. That certainly isn't evil, and it's not stupid either. It's just a worldview that craves a reality much like Main Street in Disneyland--clean, smiling, orderly, everything in its place...and no one getting out of line in any way....
every hair in place.
Now here's a little irony: in Mormon theology, Satan is envisioned as a control freak whose original goal--before the war with God that got him booted from Haven--was to build an utterly orderly Earth in which no one would sin, ever, in the slightest, because he'd be a sort of omnipresent Morals Police who'd grab every hand lifted in anger, making the world a smiling, pleasant place.
Just one where no one but Satan would have free will.
So the first Mormon with a shot a becoming President of the United States seems to have an interesting role model drawn from his own religion...
Disclaimer: I'm not criticizing the Mormon faith here. I'm only pointing out a curious resonance between Mitt Romney and his religion's Bête Noire.