I watched the "debate" last Wednesday night, and I shared many of the emotions expressed by other Democrats afterwards. And then I thought about all the gaffes, as well as undisputed events from his teenage and college years, as well as his record as governor of Massachusetts, as well as his flip-flopping on every major domestic issue to the point that I wonder if he doesn't have to write his current opinions/policies on his hands (a la Palin) to remind him of his most recent incarnation.
And then I remembered something I learned in my 11th grade English class that has resonated for me throughout my life: "Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." (Alexander Pope, 1734).
Mitt Romney, to many people who watched last Wednesday evening, put on a masterful performance. His performance, to me though, was just a manifestation of the only consistent theme of his life. It wasn't a performance. Mitt was just "being Mitt." He's a bully.
From the incidents from his high school years (forcibly shaving the head of a classmate whose hair was too long for his liking, and shouting, "Atta girl," to another classmate who was gay), to his boasts when he was in college of how he had obtained a Michigan state police uniform and a flashing red light, which he used to impersonate an officer, intimidating drivers (in what may have been felony offenses on his part), he showed that he was a bully. He conveniently has forgotten these incidents, says he's sorry if they did happen, but he sure doesn't remember any of it. Hmmm...
Not to mention what he did to poor Seamus. I know that criticisms of the families of candidates are off-limits, but I can't imagine for the life of me how Ann, not to mention the boys, would have allowed Mitt to do that to Seamus! When my kids were young and we went on vacations with our dog, she was in the car with us, as a fully participating member of our family life. None of us would have it any other way. Our luggage, not our dog, was strapped to the roof.
And then, earlier this year, he talked about the famous "47%." When confronted with the recording, he couldn't deny it, so he said he spoke, "inartfully." After the debate, he must have been feeling his oats, so he stuck his neck out a little and told Sean Hannity that his remarks were, "completely wrong." Like the equivocating teenager who is caught in a lie, or who is caught doing something s/he is not supposed to be doing; or the cheating spouse who's been discovered. Romney's not sorry, he just knows that what he said was "wrong."
Wrong, I guess, because he got caught.
How wrong is it that he thinks it's all right to provide only a little bit of information about his taxes and finances, nor does he think it's wrong to call himself "successful," saying that he wants everyone to be "successful," despite the fact that very few of us were "born on 3rd base," as he was. Not to bring up Ann again, but this quote is "inartfully" revealing: "we've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation." You people.
Mitt's plans to help people who just "want to get up to bat" are cynical at best:
- A woman? Too bad, no equal pay for you, and kindly disabuse yourself of any ideas that you'll be able to make decisions about your body and your health.
- A member of the LGBT community? Yeah, we're going to go back to Don't Ask Don't Tell, we're going to enforce DOMA (states rights be damned on this topic), and we'd rather keep children in foster care from birth to age 18 than to allow you to adopt them.
- An environmentalist? Go find a piece of arctic ice to float away on. Mitt says we don't have all the facts about what's causing all the climate change we are experiencing. He loves coal. Coal miners and their families, not so much (just ask the miners from Murray Coal Company). He thinks it's fine to give all kinds of tax breaks to big oil companies and natural gas companies (who pay little or no taxes to our country), but wind and solar power, again, not so much. He even makes fun of President Obama for his efforts to help develop alternative power sources. One more word to describe Mitt's position on the environment: Monsanto. (Google "Romney Monsanto" for an eyeful.)
- An immigrant? Oh boy, he's going after "the illegals." It disgusts me to think that a candidate for the highest office in our nation can refer to other human beings as an adjective. "Illegal immigrant" is enough of a pejorative. "Illegals" is just wrong. But not to Mitt. Possibly because there hasn't been enough of an outcry by the rest of us. How would he, or any of his supporters, like to be called "an illegal?" Oh yeah, his big plan for the people who are here without the permission of our government is to make their lives so unbearable that they "self-deport." Dream Act? Dream on.... President Obama's directive to allow young people who were not born here to remain here if they're in school? Well, he put his finger in the air, and now Mitt says he won't repeal President Obama's directive that partially circumvents the Dream Act.
And since we're talking about President Obama, how many stories have any of us heard about what a bully he was when he was younger? Yeah, he smoked some pot, tried a few other drugs too, and he talked about it in one of his autobiographical books. His detractors, however, aren't able to make much of any of these youthful indiscretions because they do not define his character (not to mention that there aren't many of us who were born after 1945 who can truthfully say that s/he has never tried a joint, or has never had too much to drink). The main point here is that President Obama's indiscretions never intentionally hurt someone else. Republicans make fun of his days as a community organizer, but that says a lot too. A young Barack Obama was working to empower communities, to energize and inspire them to raise themselves up by working together, supporting and encouraging each other. I like how this twig has become a strong, tall tree, only inclined to make our nation, and the world, a better place.
Mitt? Well this twig was showing a lot of signs about how the tree would ultimately incline. Mitt's just a bully.