Hurling a kid to the floor, holding him down by five to one, cutting his hair while he screams and cries.
No, it wasn't a "prank". It was the crime of battery, as in "assault and battery"; "the unwanted touching of another". It was also on the same spectrum as lynching because it was the degrading of a human being. Further, it was extremely dangerous and could have ended with that high school boy dead from being stabbed by the scissors in the struggle. Such deaths have occurred in prior decades from similar "hazing" haircuts. I'm a retired attorney, and if I had been a DA back then I would have prosecuted the young Romney.
No, we mustn't let the talking heads on TV, almost all of them men, successfully dismiss Romney's attack on a fellow student as "boys will be boys". Or claim that "teenage years" are off limits in a campaign. Joe Scarborough - predictably - blathers on about the irrelevance of "what kids do when they're fourteeen, fifteen, or sixteen."
Romney wasn't fourteen. Or fifteen. Or sixteen.
He was a graduating senior. He was eighteen or close to it. In states like New York, he would have been considered an adult under the liquor laws back then. Nationally, he was eligible for the draft. In many states he was old enough to enter binding contracts and to marry without parental permission. And he had been old enough to drive for two years. So suppose he had killed or injured another youngster in a game of "chicken" with automobiles, as in a James Dean type movie. Would that have been a "prank" or a crime?
You can't be an adult for a lot of things and escape it because you are just months from high school graduation.
The main thing is that the young Mitt Romney is still with us. Over the years he has remained the same "prankster". His friends and former employees (or a few of them anyway) say he's really a kind and gentle man. Baloney! Because they also keep saying he's a "prankster". It's their word, not mine.
A prankster is not a humorist. He gets laughs by making other people look bad. Or by humiliating them. Or by causing them pain or worry. The laughter is always based on cruelty. A prankster loves a banana peel, pulling someone's pants down, taking photos of a young man kissing another man. Romney's history of pranks consistently involves, at the least, someone being made to look a fool or being scared. It's what my mother used to call "cheap" humor. Meaning "low class". That was back in the days when "classy" had to do with character, and a jumped-up bunch like the Romneys couldn't buy their way into being respected unless they respected others.
Romney is still bullying. He tried to bully his debate competitors in the primaries. Remember? And he's still trying to bully the press for daring to question him about anything. Remember the angry flash at the Fox News interviewer? And did you catch the snarling sneer at the rope line reporter this week?
He's admitted he's cruel. He has said he "loves to fire people" who don't do a proper job for him. He joked and laughed about the closing of a factory that costs hundreds of people to lose their jobs. In his family, it's a "humorous" incident when the family dog is crated up and tied to the roof of a car.
Romney has never been held accountable for anything! Wrapped in wealth and lionized since birth, he is a spoiled brat. To this very day, it's his way or the highway. Remember him yelling for Anderson Cooper to enforce the time rules at that debate? Romney is the spoiled little kid who always gets the apple and makes life miserable for others. There"s a Yiddish term for such a kid, though I've forgotten what it is. But - unlike Romney - I do remember what happened in my high school years. We all do.
Lynching was fun too, Mitt. We know that because there are photos of the crowds at lynchings, laughing and holding their kids aloft to see the fun. Lynchings were still going on when Romney was a youngster. But there were young people in the North who were heading South in that same decade to help end the horrors. Or joining the Peace Corps. Or sheltering other kids in their high schools from homophobic bullies or racists.
But not Mitt Romney. There's no record he has ever voluntarily lifted a finger for social justice. He has reputedly done good works within his church, but it appears that's because he had to. In Mormonism you have to go along to get along, and obedience to church demands are intertwined with financial success. (I write books about the history of the Far West and know something about Mormonism.)
Well, what's all this got to with us as voters? Do we care if Romney is a twisted form of the Tin Woodsman with no heart? Sure, we do. As president, he would decide whether we have more wars. If you're indifferent to people's suffering, you don't go gray about war deaths as Obama has. You don't really care about the unemployed if you can "joke" that you too are "unemployed" because you're running as a candidate. And if you are basically a cruel bully, you're going to mess up our foreign policy just like George W did. Bullying may work in business. It's a disaster in governance.
We say the president has a "bully pulpit". But we don't mean that the presidency is the place for a genuine bully.