While on a 6-hour bus ride back from a company meeting in New Hampshire last night, a friend and colleague told me about something her son did afterone of his recent youth baseball game. I've met her son. He's a freckle-faced thirteen-year-old who squirms in his chair and loves movies like Old School
-- and fart jokes. A kid on the team, who doesn't play well and sounds like one of those "quirky kids", struck out with a man on base to lose the game. My friend's son went over to the kid, gave him a fist bump and said, "It's OK...there's always another game."
I thought about that last night as I was getting ready to turn in. And I realized that that kid who struck out is going to have all kinds of people giving him crap before he becomes an adult and the bullying stops. But he is always going to remember how a teammate who's as natural born a pitcher as you'll ever see in a youth sports league came over to him after his humiliation and told him that it's OK. And that memory may help get him through the tough times.
John Lauber, a closeted gay youth who suffered the ignominy of having a young Willard Romney cut his hair while another high school bully held him down
, never had a memory of someone like my friend's son to hold close in the bad times, and it still haunted him thirty years later
“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.
Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”
When I was about five, perhaps six, the kid next door that I hung out with all the time had a little blown-glass duck that I liked. One day it was sitting right out, and I took it. I remember pulling it out of my pocket while in the car a few days later and saying, "Look what I found in my pocket!" I don't remember exactly how my mother got it out of me that I had taken it from my friend, but she made me return it. To this day, I remember running into the neighbor's house, putting the little duck on an end table, saying "I wanted to borrow the duck", and running out. I remember how awful I felt to this day. That stuck with me so much that one time I found a green pepper wedged in my shopping cart when I got out to the parking lot and I took it back in and paid for it. That's what I learned from taking my friend's little tchotchke
Willard Romney learned nothing from his homophobic humiliation of a closeted gay student. In fact, he doesn't even remember it happening -- or so he says. This is what sociopaths do -- they block out the memory of bad things they did. I have no doubt that O.J. Simpson has blocked out how he killed his wife. Jeffrey MacDonald
has blocked out for over forty years how he killed his wife and children. Gay-bashing may not be the same as murder, but there's no doubt that what Willard Romney did to John Lauber went a long way towards destroying the latter's soul. And he claims not to remember, which means that either he believes he did nothing wrong, or assault was so much a part of what Willard Romney did as a youth that it doesn't stick out as being anything different.
Willard Romney belongs to a church that largely financed California's Proposition 8
, which sought to overturn a state Supreme Court decision to permit gay marriage. His adherence to his faith requires him to be anti-gay. There are at least four million Americans who are gay
. Willard Romney is running to be President of the United States, not President of the Mormon States of America, or of the Right Wing States of America, or the States of Homophobic Guys Who Are Homophobic Because They Themselves Get Turned On By Gay P0rn And Are Terrified That They Could Live A Life That Is Not A Lie
. That he as a young man was so threatened by a man's long blond hair that he assaulted him with a scissors is not just a prank, and it's not "boys will be boys." It's the sign of a deeply disturbed mind, one that should not be allowed anywhere near a position of power.