Romney’s empathy or the lack thereof

I’ve been following closely the stories on the bullying incident at Cranbrook.  I was, like many, horrified at the incident.  But I was more horrified by the fact that no one at Cranbrook thought it necessary to discipline the young men involved.  And I was most horrified by Mitt Romney’s nervous giggle when asked about the incident.  I’ve been groping for an explanation of why he doesn’t remember what happened when the others involved remember it clearly.  Then I read this very interesting article in the Boston Globe this morning.  The story quoted a gentleman named Don Gorton.

While some observers have expressed doubt that anyone could forget such a dramatic episode, one activist who has studied bullying said he believes Romney may, in fact, have no recollection.

Teenagers who bully others often don’t remember the incidents because they weren’t traumatic for them, said Don Gorton, chairman of the Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts, a nonprofit group that seeks to reduce violence against gays and lesbians.

“Empathy is the critical variable,’’ Gorton said. “If they don’t feel their victims’ pain, the episode won’t stand out. It wasn’t a big deal for them.’’

Empathy.  That is what explains a great deal about Mitt Romney.  He lacks empathy.  People have been saying that he can’t relate to the common person and he has given many examples.  He likes to fire people.  A young person who can’t find a job should get his or her parents to give them a loan to start a business.  He supports the Ryan budget which raises the defense budget at the expense of the middle class and poor.  Plus he certainly was cruel to poor Seamus the dog.

 In the Massachusetts Governor’s Office

 

More from Gorton

Gorton, however, said he was offended that Romney described the episode as typical high school hijinks, even though an 18-year-old Romney was reportedly using scissors to cut Lauber’s hair as Lauber screamed for help.

“I wish he had said nothing,’’ Gorton said. “The fact is, high school pranks are whoopee cushions and wedgies. This was assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.’’

Gorton and other gay-rights activists in Massachusetts said the episode made them recall how Romney disbanded the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth and the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes – two panels that sought to combat bullying and were created under a previous Republican governor.

“It is relevant to judge him for his record in office and he was lackluster, to put it kindly, in his efforts to fight bullying when he was governor,’’ said Gorton, who was cochairman of the Task Force on Hate Crimes when it was disbanded in 2003.

“It is relevant to judge him for his record in office and he was lackluster, to put it kindly, in his efforts to fight bullying when he was governor,’’ said Gorton, who was cochairman of the Task Force on Hate Crimes when it was disbanded in 2003.

Romney has said the groups were disbanded to save money.

I understand that some people are disappointed that President Obama has not brought about miraculous change.  But ask yourself this question:  Would you rather have a President with the courage to come out in favor of an idea, gay marriage, that, while growing in acceptance, is still viewed in horror by many or a President Romney who lacks any kind of empathy?  The answer for me is clear:  a President without empathy is a dangerous one.

 

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