With all the crazy things he says, if Mitt Romney were a student on any of America’s college campuses, he would be profiled on a watch list. His radical speech continually advocating the abolition of the federal government while attending classes with classmates with tuition paid for by federal student loans would register as a blind contradiction and personality disconnect (dissociative identity) that could easily cross the line from blame and denigration to violence. Instead, he is running for President of the United States as a candidate for the Republican Party and ducking questions about his claims, saying conversations about inequity should be held in quiet rooms where, promising to “do more” if he could to cut jobs, he rails against 47% of Americans whose incomes are so low they are exempt from income taxes.
He is not alone in the group home; group homes are normally places where people with special challenges are given love and support and encouraged to break through their veils. But Mitt does a Mitty; his advocacy network of irrational politics has the power to make his cruelest fantasies real and impose them on the rest of us, no matter our own dreams. He and his ilk are well funded by operators who see dollars in the vast disability that shadow hims and others: parts narcissism, delusion, paranoid, manic, a bundle of anti-social behaviors including the lack of empathy, guilt, or remorse for pathological lying, a grandeur that writes its own morality and rules of the game.
For instance, Michael Brown, the infamous “Brownie” who let New Orleans turn into Atlantis, publicly chided President Obama for reacting to hurricane Sandy too soon, claiming the President’s actions were “premature.” Brownie is also on record claiming Obama “wanted” the Gulf oil spill so he could suspend offshore drilling. Brown never saw a disaster he couldn’t make worse or find faults and conspiracies in the tragedy. And he once ran the nation’s emergency response.
Or take Romney’s television and radio commercial claiming GM and Chrysler both intend to send American production jobs to China. Both companies have taken the unusual step of calling the “car guy” a liar. A GM spokesperson cited galactic-length differences between the Romney ads and reality. The spokesperson went on: “no amount of campaign politics at its cynical worse will diminish our record of creating jobs.” Chrysler’s CEO, calling the ads, “inaccurate,” pointed out Chrysler has added 2,900 jobs at downtown Detroit’s Jefferson Avenue plant, which builds Jeep Cherokees. Ironically, Romney’s father built Jeeps in China in the 1980s, as CEO of American Motors. Chrysler will build there, too, for China’s market, the world’s largest.
Romney knows a list of facts don’t add up to truth. But America has frequently confused villains and heroes; the bad man is often the good guy. And the good guy often has fatal flaws. Barack Obama has shouldered the abuse and crises and carnage left by the former and potential residents of office, and his flaw seems to be a stoic good cheer for which he is mercilessly heckled. Many (some from both sides!) seem angry that they haven’t been able to seduce the President into a meltdown.
Romney’s advocates spend millions—no, billions—altering reality so that millions of voters will assume he’s sane. Yet his ideological exploitation of children is unmatched since the Crusades. In the meantime, his staff dresses him in new shirts, an observation my 97-year-old uncle sees in the package crease lines on TV. Romney wore one in Ohio where his relief rally turned out to be staged by his campaign; his staff went to Walmart in the middle of the night and spent $5,000 on donations for photo-ops and those who came empty-handed, buying items the Red Cross doesn’t accept! Sanity is more than a daily new shirt. Well dressed insanity may be fashion-forward, but it’s country-backward—before poverty and pain became photo opportunities—to policies that waste money on non-receivables and frame a time when others were in tatters.
Few creatures this Halloween will be more scary than Mitt Romney. Yet nearly half the nation is prepared to give him their vote. And the reasons for their willingness to walk into a polling place and blindly cast a ballot for Mitt Romney are equally as scary the man himself. We lampooned Alvin Greene when he won South Carolina’s Democratic senate primary, attributing it to some nonsense about the spelling of Greene with a final “e,” said to be a “black people’s spelling.” Yes, in South Carolina, race enters into how last names are spelled. There are Richburgs and Richbourgs, Alstons and Allstons, Goughs and Goffs, Pettigrus and Pettigrews. When he ran against Jim DeMint, Alvin Greene finished with a respectable vote total, and he is far more humble and progressive than Jim DeMint, but Alvin Greene is black and received exactly the same kind of ridicule Barack Obama gets, and Obama is President of the United States. More important than a black people’s spelling is a black people’s curse that equates black success with “entitlements” or national insanity. On the other hand, Romney is seen as moderating his own “inelegant” views.
Chairs hung from trees and fences, some with nooses, are also inelegant and without merit. Not art installations, the chairs—the idea borrowed from the Republican convention, the presentation that preceded Romney’s acceptance speech—are the latest form of free speech that provocatively directs attention to (I say calls for!) historic violence that put the law into mobs’ hands and took the life of black citizens without trials or findings by public lynchings, often with official cooperation. Unlike the roll of names for victims of lynching—only 15-year-old Emmett Till is well known—there is no list for those whose chairs are highlighted on web aggregation sites and in the 30 seconds of local news. Again, facts without truth, only shock. Romney, too, shocks us. Whatever the outcome of the election—and make no mistake, Barack Obama will win—the shock of those who tied the shadow of disgrace to our politics will not be forgotten.