Friday, May 11, 2012

Romney's Prep School Bully Stigma And Why "Dumb Things" Doesn't Wash: A Very Personal View.

Perhaps it is Romney's youth that will 
finally belie the youthful Romney
There are certain things in a person's psyche that are harder to change than others . A feeling of superiority is one of them. And when you are bred to believe that you are superior, that feeling is almost insurmountably hard to dislodge from your mind...and your soul.

I went to a Catholic boys college prep school, and although it was not exactly the image of Pencey Prep* because it was a commuter school, it was perhaps the most elitist school in the Chicagoland area. The most elitist, the most academic...and the most macho: from our first day of freshmen year we were referred by the priests/teachers as "men." Our football and swim teams were considered among the best in the country. So many of our "men" went to Notre Dame that my going to the University of Illinois was looked upon as a humiliating apostasy. Because of its proximity to Chicago, it was certainly an upper class school for sons of the Mafioso. And with its Dominican priests, it was strict and not for the faint of heart.

Being even slightly effeminate made for four difficult years. Four VERY difficult years, in fact.

Every morning I knew that I would have a horrendous time in PE, I would upchuck breakfast. I was a "spaz". Some guys called me "Vo-Queer" instead of Vojir. I hung out with others like me - other guys who didn't completely fit in. We simply called ourselves "The Group" (before Mary McCarthy's book ever came out). By happenstance, we all came out of the closet in our mid-twenties**, but during our prep school years, we knew what "homosexuals" were, what they did sexually, and that they had relationships.

So perhaps the most disingenuous statement made by Mitt Romney after the appearance of "Lord of the Shears" is:
"I don't remember that incident," Romney told Kilmeade. "I tell you I certainly don't believe that I ... thought the fella was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s. So that was not the case.
He knew. He remembered ... and he knew. Bullies always remember their exploits: they brag about them enough to keep them fresh for a long while. They especially brag about their exploits in terms of sexuality: beating up fags is as much of a right of passage as having sex with members of the opposite sex. In extreme cases, sometimes sodomizing (gang-raping) an effeminate boy was also a right of passage. Showers and locker rooms were not always the safest places to be, especially if you had a limp wrist.

The Romney campaign has predictably back peddled with an "apology", claims of "evolution" and "dumb things." Supposedly we should all move on and look past it to a man who has a sterling character. But the portrait of Mitt Romney emerging as an insufferably arrogant, preppy kid is totally appropriate in a world that demands the birth certificate of the President.

The Bully Being Bullied

The timing of the expose couldn't have been more hazardous for the Romney campaign, coming at the heels of Romney's gay advisor Richard Grenell resigning from pressure from other bullies - the Christian Right. The boyhood "pranks" are explained away as simply the result of typical teenage angst, kind of like what waterboarding of detainees at Guantanamo is to Ann Coultergeist. The irony of the Grenell affair is that some people are sounding like bullies themselves: admittedly, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association does think much of a presidential candidate who will buckle under "yokels" like Bryan Fischer.

Another part of the portrait: some of today's bullies - the corporate kind - aren't particularly concerned about the very poor.

During the past twenty years, Mitt Romney has not physically changed - his youthful visage and energy gave the Republican Party its JFK. The portrait of a man who's temples are grey contrasting to Obama's increasingly graying hair makes a difference in politics since so much of politics is based on appearance. But it's a portrait that may change regardless of Romney's appearance. The "Lord Of The Shears" affair may start to reveal a hidden portrait - one which may turn out more like the Picture of Dorian Grey. How fitting that a story of Oscar Wilde - the most flamboyant man of his time - could serve as a metaphor for such a man.

*The school in J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye.

** I burst, nay, exploded out of the closet, eventually winding up as a go-go dancer at San Francisco's End Up in 1975, two years before Armistead Maupin's Tales of The City featured it.

So Obama's Evolved. Now What? A Boon To The LGBT Community Is Also A Boon To The Right, Christian Or Otherwise

The Bigotry Will Triple
One Comment on Truth Wins Out:"Once upon a time, a much loved/hated President from Illinois got down off the fence and came out in support of basic justice and human rights for a group of people who had been denied these things up to that point. Almost 150 years later, it happened again."
Andrew Sullivan: "[T]oday Obama did more than make that logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him. That's the change we believed in.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a President to speak his mind, inalienable rights can be elevated ... or sometimes get f*cked. Yesterday, President Barack Obama stated, in his usual careful and diplomatic way, that he thinks same-sex couple should have the right to marry, and amidst the cries of jubilation (see above) there will be voices screaming to have him ousted from office immediately. This year's Values Voters Summit, hosted by Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and attended by uber-bigots (like Bryan Fischer of American Family Association) across the country, will be one monstrous Obama-bashing event and Presidential nominee-apparent Mitt Romney will be ballyhooed more than the Second Coming.

This year's Summit may even allow a Ku Klux Klan booth.* Who knows?

The above is the headline for FOX Nation, the blog for FOX News. It's indicative of what is to come. "War On Marriage"... is too strong for a "news" outlet and is the same phrase used by the Christian Right and NOM. The "Flip Flops" is an inept attempt to counter the usual criticism of Romney's politics.

And more (courtesy, Joe.My.God):
  • Alliance Defense Fund: Today's statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.
  • Traditional Values Coalition: North Carolina just became the 31st state to affirm the sanctity of marriage. As if mainstream Americans needed any further reasons to reject Obama’s radical social agenda, we were most certainly reminded today.
  • The Catholic League: The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman.
These sound relatively mild, but the wild is yet to come. Already false speculations are emerging: one is that the Obama campaign is depending upon gay money since gays, of course have more money than God.

The myth that gays have more disposable income, however, is dispelled by the fact that a higher than national average are caregivers for their partners and parents** - those people for whom straight relatives (mostly siblings) have little or no concern. If the Obama administration doesn't know that it might be disappointed in the level of campaign donations. However, it will not be disappointed by the level of campaign work by gays and lesbians, reaching perhaps the level of 2008.

Reality, however, has never bothered the Right when it comes to attacking the Left. In this, the ferocity of the Right cannot be underestimated: they will counter Democratic campaigns with organizations like the discredited NOM. They will double-down on sanctioned bullying in schools. They will trumpet lies against Planned Parenthood and the Girls Scouts.

All of Mitt Romney's sins will be whitewashed to the nth degree.

And their victory in North Carolina will embolden them to paint gay activists as godless but powerfully manipulative demons and Obama as the anti-Christ for helping them along.

All liberals - gay and straight, better hunker down for an exceptionally vicious war.

*On religious grounds, of course. Those are fiery CROSSES, aren't they?
** The national average is 17% while the average for gays is 21%.

The Cases Of Dynasty And Ja'Maya: Fending Off Bullies Can Get You Expelled ... Or Charged With A Felony

And yes, it's an ironic name for the high school.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An independent arbitrator ruled Monday that an Indiana gay teen will remain expelled from Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis until January 7, 2013 for discharging a stun gun on school property to discourage an attack by bullies.
17-year-old Darnell "Dynasty" Young was bullied for a long time at his high school. So long, in fact, that his mother gave him a stun gun for protection. He carried it in his backpack for weeks without even ervealing that he had possession of such a defense device. Then on April 16, he was approached by six young men in between class buildings who threatened to beat him up. He then pulled out the stun gun and fired it in the air to ward them off.

For that act of self-defense, Dynasty is not able to finish his junior year, nor the entire first semester of his senior year.*

There will be a rally for Dynasty on May 15 during the meeting of the school board.

Interviews with Dynasty and his mother, Chelisa Grimes, revealed several additional points about the bullying: it involved rumors about having sex with certain teachers and it also brought up the question "How far does this go?" Another point: will schools ever come up with rules as to the extent a teen can respond to bullying if he or she feels his life is threatened?

"Weapon" versus "Firearm"

The concealed carrying of a stun gun is legal in 43 states since tasers are not considered firearms by the U.S. Government. Carrying a stun gun to school, therefore, carries the same weight as carrying a knife, so would Dynasty's penalty have been as severe if he had wielded a knife?

The Case of Ja'Maya in BULLY

The movie BULLY may be one of the most powerful presentations on the subject because it focuses on the bullied teens, their families and the families of teens whose suicides were the results of relentless bullying. 13 million kids are bullied each year and many parents simply do not feel that their kids are safe. As in the case with Chelisa Grimes, she thought giving her son a taser would help him fend off the bullies. But in the case of BULLY's Ja'Maya (no last name given), the victim took matters into her own hands by brandishing a gun against her attackers on a school bus. Her mother had no idea that she had possession of the gun. As a result of the incident, however, Ja'Maya faced over 40 FELONY CHARGES. She was eventually put on probation instead of being placed in jail.

Dynasty, Ja'Maya and BULLY have a common thread: both parents and kids feel powerless against bullies because school systems have refused to take a pro-active stance against the "kids-will-be-kids-they're-cruel-at-this age" meme. To what point do they take matters into their own hands? Should they be armed in any way?

Has it come to this:

The Knuckle-Blaster (pictured above)
You wear this 950000 volt stun gun on your knuckles like a knuckle cap and punch your aggressor with a powerful blast of electric shock to incapacitate him and if you hold the device to your aggressor’s body for a longer period, he may fall down on the ground in pain and contortion.

A deadly serious discussion is needed. NOW.

*To date, there has been no action against the teens who surrounded Dynasty that day. Maybe they cited religious grounds.