I knew there was something funny about her soon after she began working for me. The casual lies, and the distortions of reality that came with that. But the last six months, with its increasingly serious falsehoods, the false accusations, the subpoenas, the changing of locks, the sleeplessness, the fear. That's when I realized that a sociopath had entered my life.
Relief followed for the six months after she was no longer working for me. And I could not help but read up on sociopaths, and the tell-tale signals: their lies, their lack of remorse and, in the case of some sociopaths, their violence.
Undoubtedly I am still not good at spotting sociopaths, but having dealt with one, I am a little more attuned than most. And yesterday it struck me: could Romney be a sociopath?
The first clue should have been the lies. Okay, "all politicians lie." The voters force them to lie. If you can't deal with having to dissemble, maybe you shouldn't be a politician. But doesn't it seem like Romney lies more than others? Lies about everything? Lies even when he doesn't have to?
And yesterday we found out that he as a teenager was guilty of assault and battery on a gay kid. Romney denies that he knew the other kid was gay, but really, we all know that kids who seemed gay were often targeted by the bullies.
Romney was a bully?
Up till now, we all assumed that Romney must be a really nice guy. Why? Well "Mormons might be weird" some of us might think, but the ones we've known have been "really nice people". Up til now the assumption has been that the reason we know so little about Romney the man is that he needs to hide his Mormonism. But last night I had a though: what if Romney isn't hiding his Mormonism so much as hiding behind his Mormonism. Using it to conceal the real man. Sociopaths hide behind things that other people think are good and wholesome.
It's not that Romney was homophobic, in the times he was growing up, almost everyone was.
And it's not that he picked on a gay classmate, that wasn't that uncommon.
But he apparently (1) was involved in a long and thought out act of violence against a classmate and (2) took a strong leadership role in doing so. Okay, that's a bit much, even for bullies and even for 50 years ago. It says something about his character, something ugly.
But it's not even that! As the popular refrain would have it, we all did things as teenagers that we regret. I remember doing things that, years later, I have come to regret. Acts of cruelty, acts of commission and omission.
But here's the thing: all the other boys involved in the assault against the gay student have expressed regret, often deep and profound, when interviewed as grown men. They are very sorry that they were involved. One even ran into the victim many years later, and apologized to him.
By contrast, Romney chuckled as he recalled the story. Apologized -if- he had hurt anybody. No empathy, no remorse.
Romney also claims that he doesn't remember. And that would be scary. The people who don't remember things like that are typically people to whom it made very little difference, people who lack empathy. What happened was not as bad as, say, rape, but it may be telling that rapists often don't remember their victims, and seem to act surprised that their victims should expect them to remember who they were. To forget something like an assault and battery on a classmate is something that one might expect, well, from a sociopath.
Or he remembers and is lying when he claims not to. Again, the casual lies, the lack of remorse, the lack of empathy. Typical of, well, sociopaths.
Lack of empathy and remorse? That would come in handy when buying companies, declaring them bankrupt, firing all the workers, productive or not...
Of course, most Democrats already think the Republicans are off in sociopathic territory with some of their policies. But this is different. What if the Republicans have picked an actual sociopath as their candidate for president?
And how do we know? Is there anything else in Romney's past that might paint him in such a light? Is it time to further explore this possibility?
What would it mean to the nation if one of its presidential candidates is an actual sociopath?