So I had C-Span on this AM so that I could watch Mitt Romney’s commencement address at Liberty University.
Make of my sanity from that what you will.
But I was early, or Liberty was late, so, in the interim, I heard a series of calls from C-Span’s morning call-in program.
The conversation centered on the Washington Post’s article this week on Mittens’ dumbassery at a high school student, which, according to the article, centered on at least one occasion on physically assaulting a younger classmate whose haircut Mittens didn’t like.
So he gave the kid a new one. You know, while his buddies were holding the kid down, ignoring his crying and screams for help.
Totally normal behavior. For a sociopath.
Anyway, Steve from Haymarket, VA came in on the Republican line.
And Steve? Couldn’t see what the big fucking deal was about. Because, he argued, he’d been bullied at school, during his time at a military academy. No, not bullied, he said: hazed.
And that hazing had, he claimed, been just awesome for him. Being bullied makes you butch, makes you tougher, he argued. Turns you into the man you’re supposed to be. That’s what it did for him. Getting the snot beat out of him convinced him to take up weight lifting, exercise, blah blah blah macho, and goddamn it: Steve from Haymarket was grateful for it. And he didn’t understand why the kid that Mittens and his buddies “hazed” wouldn’t have “manned up” under such treatment.
Now what struck me wasn’t the bullshit notions of masculininty, or of what it means to be a “man.” How you become a man–through physical violence and intimidation, apparently.
It was that, for Steve, Romney’s participation in this kind of behavior–which Mittens hasn’t denied–is a good thing, is a selling point for Steve on why Mitt is the Right Man for the Job.
To be a man, it seems, means you have to be willing to beat masculine conformity into the bodies of others who are failing to live up to your expectations.
So what does that mean for a guy who wants to be the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in the world? What about from a diplomatic perspective? Are “real men” only those willing to wage war, to push the physical assault of one kid out onto a multinational stage?
Certainly, I don’t care for Mittens, and I–like most people, I imagine–was bullied in high school. Not physically, for me, but bullied nonetheless. And over what my would-be tormentors perceived as my being a “lesbian.” Now, mind you, at my wee little high school on the edges of the East Coast Megalopolis, there were no constructive discussions of gender and sexuality, more out of ignorance, I think, than any sort of malice. I doubt the morons who tried to give me a hard time [in French class, no less! I think that’s my favorite part, in retrospect] even understood what a lesbian was, other than, perhaps, a girl who didn’t look “girly” enough to them.
So all that said: I’m not with Team Mitt on this one. [Or any one.] But I’m more freaked out by the notion that some people would see this kind of asshattery as a sign of Mittens’ leadership potential, of his potential awesomeness as the leader of the free world. And I wonder how many of said people would also claim to be “Christian,” to be followers of a religion that, ostensibly, is all about treating your fellow humans with dignity and respect.
Not sure what to make of that, exactly. But it doesn’t feel like something good.