| | Comments (0)

I read a brief summary of the account of Romney's "disturbing" bullying incident. It didn't sound like anything worth mentioning to me. So I heard people talking about how terrible it was, so I went back and read the more complete account, thinking I must've missed something.

Apparently, I didn't.

Look, Mitt Romney apparently did something pretty nasty. But he was a young man at a prep school in the 60s. That's not to say everyone would do what he did: I was bullied, and stood up to people who bullied me and others. I hated bullying and I still do. But I also recognize the truth that young men will act this way, and there's nothing we can do about it. It's the responsibility of the bullied to stand up to it and deal with it, and it's the responsibiity of the bullies to grow out of it, and it's the responsibility of the adults to help both of them.

When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I made a conscious choice to no longer give a damn about people who disliked me, for whatever reason. It was as if a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. I no longer allowed my emotions and view of self to be controlled by what others thought. Granted, not everyone can do this, and it was doubly easier for me: not only do I have a personality that allows me to easily do this, but I was physically larger than most of the bullies, which meant that while maybe I was teased or even occasionally attacked, it was far less for me than it was with smaller kids who were bullied. But the principle still holds: you have bootstraps; use them.

I've occasionally thought about kids who have bullied me and my friends in the past, and with one exception -- one kid who bullied everyone all the time, pretty much, and I stood up to him and got a sucker-punch bloody nose for it -- I can't see how I could possibly hold it against them today in any way, even thinking that it says anything negative about them as grown men. They were boys. That's what boys do. It doesn't mean anything now. Even for the one exception, I like to think he grew out of it, but he was on a pretty bad trajectory for a long time.

At the end of the day, with the kid Romney apparently attacked, it's just hair. If I found out my son did this, I probably would have given him a really terrible haircut with patches missing and made him go to school every day for a week with it, along with apologizing to the other kid, and loss of certain privileges for awhile. And if I found out my son was attacked like this, I'd simultaneously help him deal with it gracefully, while encouraging the school and other parents to take action. These are all learning experiences that happen with boys, and they're pretty well universal.

The only story this story tells me is that Mitt Romney was a young man, which I had already guessed.

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on May 14, 2012 6:56 AM.

WA: We're #37! was the previous entry in this site.

Bain Capital and Bike Locker Economics is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.