“Back in the day you would get beaten up or punched in the yard and you’d tell a teacher and they’d just tell you to suck it up, you know, or that’s just what boys do or that’s just how girls are and ‘You two knock it off,’ and that was the extent of it,” said psychologist Jerry Weichman, who works with adolescents at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, Calif. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-05-12/mitt-romney-hijinks-bullying/54915566/1

I am just a tad younger than Mitt Romney, so can report first hand that Weichman has it exactly right about the ’60s academic attitude toward bullying.

I was far from being one of the kids the bullies routinely targeted, yet I remember being gut punched twice and having my wrists twist-burned by male classmates in elementary school. It never occurred to me to tattle. The school wouldn’t have done anything and my parents would have reamed me out for being a wimp.

Bullying definitely went on and it was not punished. But the really serious perps in our school were not the kids, but the two male teachers. The gym teacher delighted in joining into our pre-adolescent games of Dodge Ball so he could fire the ball at kids on the other team. This guy was an adult athlete. He LIKED hurting little kids with those damned red rubber balls.

The other guy was my sixth grade teacher who was a weekend minister at a small church in the community. This paragon of Christian virtue, rather than stifling or at least ignoring the verbal abuse the bullies heaped on the weaker kids, actually joined in on it and, like Mr. Sadist of the Gym, enjoyed himself immensely.

I’m not sure which of these two I despise more. But thinking back, in this climate, what incentive was there for a strong leader like Mitt Romney to behave any differently than the adult mentors the school provided? School in the 60s was not a cuddly pc environment. You had three choices:

  1. Bully
  2. Be bullied
  3. Lay low and hope for the best

I watched Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama steer our nation down some very dark paths by choosing doors number 2 and 3. Forgive me if I think someone who picked door number 1 might have the kind of strong backbone I want in that important job.

I feel sorry for the kids who got bullied. I really do. I felt bad for them when it was happening in my school. I was targeted a few times myself, which makes me even more ashamed that I was too much of a wimp to even try to stick up for the kids who got it all the time.

But what Mitt Romney may or may not have done fifty years ago in high school has no impact on who I intend to vote for in November.


Filed under Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney

4 responses to “Bullying

  1. KellyM.

    Was he, in fact, a bully, or did he pull a stupid prank? Bullying is one of those “feel good” hot button issues right now…and we all know the ends justify the means, so why not use it? Having been bullied in middle-school, my biggest regret was that I stood back and took it rather than stand up and defend myself. That is what haunts me to this day. We have told our kids numerous times that if you are being physically or emotionally bullied, we have no problem with you defending yourself, even if it results in suspension.
    I kind of take comfort in this story, because if this is all they’ve got, they don’t got much.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I’m really sorry you were bullied, Kelly. When I was 30ish, I happened to bump into both the male and female targets from my sixth grade.

      The guy had become a periodontalist. His posture and grooming suggested to me he’d overcome the “You’re a loser” message.

      The female, oy. She waited on me in a diner and would NOT make eye contact or respond to my overtures. I talked to her best school friend, who said even she had been cut off cold. It haunts me and I have to wonder what else was going on in her life.

      I need to put her on my prayer list. Dunno why it didn’t occur to me til this minute. (You already are, Kelly, as are all visitors to PN.)

      And ITA !!! about HOW comforting the whole thing is. Ann Romney never worked? Mitt said mean things in high school? ROFLLL … pathetic beyond belief.


  2. KellyM.

    It surely is!! Thank you for the prayers. As horrible as it was at the time, being bullied was part of my life’s journey, full of broken roads, but allowing me to finally understand that it was all the challenges that allowed me to become person I am proud to be today.