Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s Stupid Remarks

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who serves as state chairman for presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s election campagin in Virginia, deserves one of my SAPP  awards for insensitive remarks that he made recently.

SAPP is an acronym which stands for  Stupidity Award for Promoting Prejudice against persons with mental disorders. 

According to the Newport News, Bolling said that  “if people think Obama has done a good job over the past three years , they should vote for him — then ‘check themselves into a mental hospital.'”

I’m certain Bolling and his spin master buddies will claim he was simply making a joke and anyone who found his remarks  offensive is guilty of political correctness run amok.  But words matter, especially ones that increase stigma and prejudice, especially when they are uttered by an elected leader.

Bollings’ remarks were intended to belittle persons who support Obama by suggesting there is something wrong with them mentally. His comments mock persons suffering from serious mental disorders, such as schzophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. These individuals should not be the butt of jokes when they need help — anymore than someone with cancer should be chastised for checking into an oncology ward.

Bollings’ flippant words promote prejudice against people who are suffering.  It is ignorance, such as his, that continue to keep persons with mental problems hiding in the closet, afraid to seek help or talk openly.

The former CEO of National Public Radio, Vivian Schiller, was forced to apologize  for a “thoughtless” remark that she made about Juan Williams, a television commentator, when Schiller said that he needed to keep his opinions to himself or share them with his “psychiatrist or publicist – take your pick.”

At the time, NAMI President Michael Fitzpatrick wrote: “Once again, someone has played “the stigma card,” suggesting mental illness to discredit a person rather than debating issues on their merits.”

The same applies to Bolling.   He should publicly apologize and Romney should chastise him.