On Politics, Equality, and Bullying

In The Six Days After Obama's Support of Same Sex Marriage and Romney's Boarding School Hijinx

If you haven’t been living in some secluded cave for the past few days, you’ve heard that President Obama has publicly voiced his support for same sex marriage and that Mitt Romney was involved in bullying “hijinks” at his Michigan boarding school. As a supporter of marriage equality, I’m encouraged that Mr. Obama chose to affirm what I believe should be everyone’s inherent right, to marry the person they love. As wonderful and important as the President’s announcement was, I am more intrigued by the events surrounding Mitt Romney’s high school years- and how they relate to the events of From White Plains. In the play Ethan Rice, portrayed by Aaron Rossini, is labeled as a high school bully and forced as an adult to confront the consequences of his behavior as a teenager. 

When I look at my own high school experience, I definitely picked on others more than I was picked on. My behavior wasn’t as extreme as Romney’s seems to have been, but for the sake of fitting in I made fun of kids and slung around my fair share of mean spirited jokes. Am I sorry that I may have hurt those kids’ feelings? Yes, absolutely. Do I regret the way I behaved? I don’t think that question is as easy to answer. When we’re in high school, we are far from becoming the people that we will be when we’re adults. We’re in a constant state of growth and change, and we do many things without giving thought to the consequences. Regrettable actions and mistakes are an important part of our growth as adolescents. Without them we cannot learn how to be better moving forward. 

The situation becomes more complicated when the severity of those mistakes increases. Where do we draw the line between immature adolescent behavior and actions that inflict real trauma? Romney refers to his actions as “hijinks,” and perhaps to him at the time they were. From the outside perspective as adults in 2012 it’s hard to seem them that way. 

 My opinion of who Obama and Romney are as people is shaped by my political beliefs and the way they are depicted by the media. Generally, I believe that Obama is a good person because we have similar political ideologies. Conversely, I think less of Romney because we disagree on religion, same sex marriage, and numerous other issues. However, the fact remains that I don’t actually know either of them, and their portrayal in the media is not the whole story.

In the world of From White Plains, Ethan Rice is judged by millions who don’t know the whole story. I’m inclined to say that’s not fair, but we have to make decisions and judgements based on the information we have at hand. I invite you to see the show and decide for yourselves.