1965. Maybe the social media giant could have made a difference for a young boy named John Lauber at a posh boarding school in Michigan. You see, back then, no one stood up for Lauder who was set upon by a bunch of high school bullies who didn’t like the way he wore his hair. This group led by the scion of a powerful political and industrial family in Michigan wanted to show this outsider that it wasn’t cool to dress or act different from them.
Recently, I was reminded of this incident that has floated off the front page. You see, a young girl who is probably the female reincarnation of John Lauber was bullied by her classmates in Michigan (what is it with this State?) for being different.
But in this case, Whitney Kropp’s story was floated on Facebook and the results were dramatically different. People from all over the world rallied to her defense and emboldened her to stand up against the bullies. Her story of personal courage and how social media gave her that courage is one that has made a lot of difference to other kids who have or had been bullied.
But little good this story does for John Lauber, as he was ambushed forty-seven years ago and thrown to the ground so that his homophobic attackers could have their way with him.
One of the attackers chanced upon Lauber at an airport bar thirty years after the attack and offered his apologies .
Lauber replied that the attack had been horrible and that he had thought about the attack a lot since.
John Lauber has since passed away, so we cannot get his side of the story and the effect it had on his later life except, perhaps, for the brief exchange with his former tormentor in a bar at an airport. Of course, he wasn’t around to hear the “apology” from the main bully.
But the main perpetrator of that attack is still very much with us and it would seem that his recent remarks at a private meeting show that the arrogance he had as a teenage bully is still a mainstay in his personality. At that meeting, the teenage bully, now a leading politician told the assembled crowd of his “peers”, that he doesn’t really care about 47 percent of America, whom he calls “victims.”
We need to tell the world and our children that bullying is not right. We need to demonstrate that to the teenage bullies who beat up the weak that it is not right and that beating up on the weak is also not right when they want to be President of the United States.
So despite which party you align yourself with, just remember a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for a bully; one that got away with it in 1965. Don’t let him get away with it today. You owe it to your children and to John Lauber.