You’ve probably already heard that Mitt Romney has recently been reported to be—and he doesn’t much deny—a thoroughgoing jackass and bully in high school.
First of all, it doesn’t much matter for the fall election. This might sway a few independents, but it’s not going to singlehandedly overcome the importance of the economic recovery (or lack thereof…we’ll see).
Second of all, it probably shouldn’t matter. The allegations are awful. They’re horrible. No child or young adult should ever be treated the way that Romney allegedly treated some of his classmates. Ever. With that said, if we start the vetting process for presidential hopefuls at 14, we’ll eliminate nearly every candidate. Who amongst us is so without adolescent sin that we can confidently cast the first stone? I’m not confident that many of us could run for president on the strength of our teenage purity of behavior.
Finally, and most importantly—the outcry is still encouraging. The meaningless things with which we concern ourselves during presidential campaigns are better now than ever. In the 1990s, we worried whether or not Clinton inhaled when smoking pot. Nowadays, we’re concerned as to whether Romney was a wealthy, privileged jackass. We’ve gone from drug scolds to protectors of children—and that’s evidence of an uptick (however slight) in our public compassion and humanity.
And that’s assuredly worth celebrating.