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May 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Responses to 'Hero vs. bully? Let's get real'

Romney’s prep-school behavior fair game

It’s laughable for Kathleen Parker to ask if Mitt Romney’s prep-school prank (which would now be classified as a hate crime in many states) is an appropriate presidential campaign issue. [“Hero vs. bully? Let’s get real,” Opinion, May 14.]

Supporters of candidate and President Obama have had to endure years of public questioning about his ancestry, his birth place, his church, his college and law school accomplishments.

When Republicans begin treating President Obama as the legitimately elected leader of our country, instead of some political anomaly, then we’ll give candidate Romney a pass. Until that day, Romney’s mean and boorish prep-school behavior is fair game.

— Karen Knutson, Seattle

Lack of character

Kathleen Parker’s characterization of the incident where Mitt Romney instigated the forcibly holding down and the cutting of a classmate’s hair as a “prank” shows a great lack of understanding on her part of how traumatic and life-changing this extreme type of bulling can be.

Mitt Romney’s total lack of recall of the incident, while others involved apologized to the victim and still feel remorse, shows an extreme lack of character on his part. This lack of character renders him unfit to be president.

— John Douglas Locatelli, Maple Valley

Word for gays did exist in ’60s

Kathleen Parker says that Mitt Romney could not have been an anti-gay bully back in his 1965 prep school because the word gay as a term for homosexual was not in common use back then.

As a member of that generation, I have to agree: The word was “fag,” and it was because we were “fags,” not gays, that we were beaten, harassed, ostracized, given the occasional compulsory haircut, etc.

This tended to make high-school years a lonely and fearful time, often resulting in a lifelong trauma that went a long way toward ensuring an early death for the victims, as so many of my dead fag (not gay, fag) friends could attest if the dead could speak. But, true, Ms. Parker, they were never called “gay.”

Talk about a distinction without a difference!

Thank the Lord for the Democrats’ and President Obama’s moral leadership here. Maybe this will result in a lot fewer prematurely dead “gays” (or should I have said “fags”?).

— Lee Cronbach, Mountlake Terrace

Pranks aren’t relevant

First, let me state that I am a Democrat, and this fall I will be voting to re-elect President Obama. Having said that, I feel compelled to respond to the article on the “Close Up” page of Friday’s edition of The Times. [“Classmates recall Romney’s pranks — and darker incidents,” News, May 11.]

I feel it is absolutely silly and ridiculous that Mitt Romney is being scrutinized by the media, and is having to apologize publicly, for a few stupid pranks he carried out in high school nearly 50 years ago.

While the pranks that were described were definitely mean-spirited, the fact is that almost all of us did brainless things at that age that we later regretted. This is a normal part of growing up.

I certainly did some stupid and mean things as a teenager, and there are a few people out there whom I would apologize to privately if I ever see them again. But this has little or no relevance to the person I am now, and the pranks that Romney did as a kid have no relevance to his ability to lead us now.

Let us judge our candidates based on what they stand for, and their leadership skills, and not their misbehavior in school decades ago.

— Jason T. Judd, Lake Stevens

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