11/06/2012 10:13 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2013

Lessons for Romney From a Garbage Man

Hi Mitt. Paul here. We've not met, but you've made yourself so public I felt inspired myself to offer a few public thoughts about your behavior.

Mitt, you use your own sense of superiority to bully people. I watched it during the first debate; and I also saw that radio interview with the Iowa guy about Mormonism. Honestly, I don't think you would stand up to a real bully. Why? Because you don't stand in your own truth. You're a bully without convictions. I don't know why that is, but it's important.

I know a thing or two about dealing with bullying, having worked as a garbage man for my city for six years. I don't do that anymore, but let me tell you something: staged heated arguments on a news show be damned... come on down to a real-life heated discussion without your bodyguards! At the yard, where we g-men gather before and after our shifts in our trucks (and sometimes riding on the back through town collecting the g) when discussions get loud, there is a certain amount of "bringing the goods" you better do if you plan on holding your ground.

I don't care for bullies, Mitt. I was picked on from very young because I was very short. I also had a flat nose. Kids are cruel and I was picked on incessantly; I ended up taking up judo to defend myself, and only occasionally had to whip out my skills. I was one of those very shy smart kids... who happened to be a national judo champ.

After besting the class bully in 5th grade when he challenged me to a fight, no one bothered me anymore... until I became a garbage man at 41. Then I once again was an "odd man out"... a college boy using multi-syllabic words -- (what a dear pal from my g-days likes to call "25-cent words"). Some folks there didn't like me just because I'm-not-sure-why... and I had to learn how to get along in my own way. True it was just a job, but I wasn't about to slink around in the shadows, so I had to find my way socially, and one thing I learned working there is this: stand in my own truth because it's the strongest stance I have.

Interrupting others and being the loudest won't hold sway if you say one thing one time and another the next. The yard is not a forum for fakers and posers. (So why then is it so pervasive in politics? If you all hold Honest Abe Lincoln in such high regard, do you politicians sincerely imagine you are somehow carrying his mantle while behaving the way you do? Doesn't that seem a tad delusional to you?)

I do believe, Mitt, that your public displays would be picked apart authoritatively by one or another large ex-con I know, not to mention medium-sized 'yours truly.' And frankly, if you tried bullying some of us on our turf, I'd have brought the popcorn for everyone.

Is the bullying you display on TV just for show? Is this whole thing just a show you're attempting to perpetrate upon us? If so, I tell you I don't like it... and I'm not alone. Many U.S. citizens are disillusioned with the games you and your cronies play. We believe it is all about money and power for you... and I am pretty sure we're right. The equation for you is as follows: Money and power > truth and honesty. (That's a "greater than" symbol.)

You don't even stick to the religious dictums of your faith: show me where the good book justifies bullying as a worthy tenet.

I've seen politicians stand there and slander the other guy and his policies, and afterwards shake hands as if it were simply a game. That's shameful. Politicians might think it's just a game, but for us Americans... this is our future in their hands. What frustrates me is someone lying about another, dragging his/her name through the dirt, and then not owning up to the duplicity of it... as if it's all part of the game. At the yard, it wouldn't fly, so why should it anywhere else? The garbage yard is as reasonable a microcosm of the general populous as anywhere -- for sure, it's more human than the fabricated pomp and circumstance of the trading floor of the stock market, which closer resembles a beehive than a human anything.

A large portion of this country is normal people working blue-collar jobs, trying to live honest lives. This missive isn't about being "macho-er than thou." I've often turned the other cheek at a lot of stuff on the job, about which I had good reason to get angry. I was called "Garbage" by someone who flipped me the bird, sped past our truck and pulled into a driveway just ahead of us... after which we pulled up to her place and emptied her can! I've been hit twice by cars, grazed by an old lady who was looking right at me as she angrily sped by, spooged by generous servings of god-knows-what and clocked in the face by a recycling bucket tossed in by an overzealous partner. I don't want to bring that stuff home, and am not about to blame my recycle partner for trying so hard he accidentally broke my glasses tossing that bucket in without a "Heads!"

But I ask you this, Mitt: Do you think any bully tactics you employ would cause me to back down from an argument with you just because you think you are so "in the right" that you continually interrupt me just to keep getting your words in?

This is what I think: You, sir, have spent so much time wanting to lead the country, you've abandoned certain core values so you can try to be "the answer" to our problems. But all that toadying you do violates the old adage that "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

What we'd prefer is someone honest.

What I'm saying is you've made it clear that you're a devout Mormon, but I see a lot of smiling and hugs interspersed with slanderous lies and back-stabbing. You're not above doing whatever it takes, so clearly you are trying to both claim a moralistic highground courtesy of your religious beliefs and compete in your campaign as a sort of no-holds-barred toughguy in a many-thousand-dollar suit.

A former fellow g-man used to be a drug dealer, but now has found God and become a preacher. He's a delightful fellow (if a bit overevangelical for my tastes), but when he contradicts the word of god with judgmental fire and brimstone, I can't help but see the "drug dealer of old" inside him. When I point it out in arguments, he vehemently defends his current self, rebuking his old ways, at which point I remind him, "you can't have it both ways: condemning people for being who you used to be in the name of the lord is pretty damn duplicitous."

So what's it gonna be, Mitt? Dirty politics or an honest preacher's life? You can't have it both ways. Stand in your truth for once. We'd all appreciate it more.

Doesn't mean I'll vote for ya, but at least I'd respect ya.