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Lord of the Flies? In Abundance

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I guess the good news for Romney in the bullying story is that it will help with solidifying Republican base voters who cheer the idea of people dying because of lack of health insurance, boo a gay soldier, and laugh and applaud in delight when people say things like "in nature, the lions eat the weak." Another plus: maybe animal lovers will think "hey, he's not especially cruel to dogs, he treats everybody that way." But the American public should not be surprised by this story, because Romney and his Republican party's entire philosophy is straight out of Lord of the Flies.

It's not just that the Republicans oppose hate crime and anti-bullying legislation because it gives certain people they don't like "special status," or that they have been trying to defund the Violence Against Women Act or withdraw its help from immigrant women. It's not only that they want the American government to be able to torture people in violation of our constitution, our treaties, and our oldest traditions as a country. In fact, the Lord of the Flies philosophy is at the very heart of their economic plans. The Ryan-Romney budget is all about giving the wealthy and powerful everything, and taking money and resources away from the elderly, people with disabilities, the poor, and the working class in this country. They want to let polluters go free to do what they will in poisoning our air and water and climate, and big oil to take unending subsidies and tax loopholes. They want the big insurance companies to be able to keep the sick from getting coverage. They want to leave the Wall Street titans free to speculate and cheat their customers and wreak ever more havoc with the economy. In short, Romney and Ryan want the strong to be set free to do what they will to the rest of us. Each of us would be on our own, the safety net and most basic consumer protections would be shredded, and the devil take the hindmost. It is the cruelty of Romney's high school "pranks and hijinks" turned into an entire economic system.

The story about Romney's merciless cruelty, which he says he doesn't even remember and writes off as a harmless, boys-will-be-boys prank, is not an aberration; it is part of his whole life story. He went from being the big bully in his high school, to being the cavalier dad who made the family dog ride on top of the car even when it was making him sick, to being the "vulture capitalist" at Bain Capital, loading up companies with debt for short term profit and doing mass layoffs before selling off the companies. Now he is the presidential candidate advocating for the Ryan budget, the single cruelest policy document I have ever seen in 30+ years of politics.

The biggest irony to all this is that Romney and his new buddy Paul Ryan extol their faith as devout Christians. The founder of that religion was a person named Jesus of Nazareth. He is quoted in that religious tradition's scripture as saying things like, "Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them," and, "in so far as you neglected to help one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me." Not exactly the values one thinks of when hearing about bullies -- or budgets -- that pick on the weak.

Mitt Romney has a streak of cruelty in him that allowed him to torment someone different than him in high school, and has a streak of cruelty in him now that allows him to write off such cruelty as a harmless childhood "prank." What is worse for all of us, if he were to become president, is that this cruelty is reflected in his policy ideas. We shouldn't have Lord of the Flies become our national values system.