HeatherN explores the idea that Mitt Romney’s flip reaction to his alleged bullying of a classmate calls into question his ability to advocate for the rights and safety of children.
Perhaps the most tragically famous mother of an LGBT individual is Judy Shepherd. She’s been fighting for LGBT rights for the past 14 years, ever since the tragic murder of her son, Matthew Shepherd, because he was gay. If anyone can understand the emotional impact of having one’s personal life thrust into the media, it’s her. And if anyone can understand the tragic impact homophobic and anti-LGBT actions can have, it’s certainly her. Her reaction to the news that Mitt Romney apparently bullied a perceived as gay when he was in high school was understandably strong.
I am in partial agreement with what she says, particularly with regards to Romney’s dismissal of the incident. Bullying someone is not a prank, regardless of why you were bullying them. Forcibly holding someone and cutting off their hair is not a harmless prank. Romney made a serious mistake in dismissing it as such. And that, to me, is why this story is important.
Should Romney’s actions in high school be under scrutiny like this? I’d have to say, no. High school bullies can see the error of their ways and grow as people, just like we all do. However, we can’t put that cat back into the bag. The story is out there, and Romney responded. And that is what is problematic. Romney failed to recognize how potentially serious an incident like that could have been. He literally laughed it off, while ‘apologizing’ for it. Even if he didn’t actually remember the incident, he could have at least discussed the seriousness of bullying, etc.
When Judy Shepherd said, “This incident calls into question whether Mitt Romney can be an advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable children.”
I imagine she was probably talking about the incident in high school. I would argue that really, it’s Romney’s response to this incident that calls his ability to advocate for vulnerable children into question.
What do you think? Is Mitt Romney capable of advocating for the safety of children if he doesn’t even remember bullying this teen when they were in high school?
Author’s Note: Judy Shepherd made her statement before Christine Lauber spoke to ABC.