- Facebook’s IPO mess has made several billion dollars in value just up and vanish from the U.S. economy.
- Facebook’s value is based on the views generated by user-created content, such as status updates. Status updates hus have an inflated value.
- You have updated your status a number of times.
- Your status updates hurt America.
This morning on the way to the train I saw one of those black birds with the oily feathers pecking madly at an army of ants that had amassed around a lozenge of some kind lying on the sidewalk. A couple steps later I saw a cat in front of an apartment building staring intently at the bird and stalking it ever so quietly. And then, in an almost too perfect cliche of a situation, a couple walking their dog finished crossing the street and the dog went crazy at the sight of the cat. The bird pecked feverishly at the ants, the cat jumped at the bird, and the dog jumped at the cat all at exactly the same time, and nature applauded itself on everything working as it was supposed to.
A story ran in the Washington Post this week about a regrettable incident from my past. As we tend to do with mistakes made during our teenage years, I had mostly erased all memory of this episode from my mind. The Post’s account brought it all back, and with that recollection came an intense feeling of shame.
There should be no doubt that what I did to John Lauber was cruel. There is no explanation for it other than I had ambitions to be seen as a leader among my classmates, and recognized —almost unconsciously— an opportunity to exploit their prejudice to my benefit. That’s strong temptation in politics at any level, to appeal to the darker aspects of human nature. It’s a shortcut to power. It’s how you sell your soul. I take no pride in my actions, a pathetic attempt to raise my stature at the expense of another person’s dignity.
In the 50 years since I made this terrible choice I have grown up, and practiced the habits of a better person —but of course this does not wipe the slate clean or absolve me of guilt. I learned from the article in the Post that John died 8 years ago. This filled me with a crushing regret. I wish more than anything that I had reached out to John and asked for his forgiveness. I wish I had given him the chance to express his anger at me, or his pity towards me, or whatever lingering emotion he carried with him from that experience. I’ll never have the chance to tell him how sorry I am. That’s something I’ll have to carry with me for the rest of my life.
The great American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.” In this country we cherish the individual. In this Republican party our highest goal is to protect the individual from the oppression of power. I picked on John Lauber because he was different, a non-conformist, an individual. He was far braver than I was at that age. Not only were my actions inhumane, they were contrary to the spirit of this great nation, those noble virtues that America expects from all of us. While I know in my heart the last few decades have changed me for the better, that the Mitt Romney of 1962 is not the Mitt Romney of 2012, I also know that’s ultimately beside the point. John, if you can hear me, I am so sorry.
— How Mitt Romney should have responded to the Washington Post article calling him a bully, instead of just “apologizing” for “pranks” that “may have gone too far.” I don’t mean that from a “how to show the people you have a heart” perspective, I mean it from a purely tactical one. That article gave Romney an incredible opportunity to turn the story on its head, to express contrition, humility, compassion, and values —appealing to both the evangelical base and women voters at the same time, all the while without abandoning his position on gay rights. It’s another thing that makes me think he’s just not much of a gamer, and worse yet that he’s kind of soft. When people come at him he just sort of clams up. It’s not something I’d like to see reflected on the world stage.