Friday, August 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney

Dear Mr. Romney,

I watched on television at home the final night of your Republican National Convention.  There were certainly some moving moments but there were disappointing ones too.  For me anyway.

I thought the older man and woman whose son David you were close to were very sincere and lovely people. I have known people like them in my lifetime and they are genuine and decent in every way.  You were obviously a caring inspiration to them at a very difficult time in their lives.

And the woman whose husband and ill daughter you and your wife befriended and loved was a beautiful contribution to your night; so articulate and warmly authentic in her appreciation of you. 

But I felt at times these loving people bordered on being exploited in the way they were presented.  The older couple was clearly uncomfortable under the bright lights reading from a teleprompter no doubt for the first time in their lives in front of thousands of people.  Why not interview them in their home and let them say in their own words how much they admire you?

And clearly the attractive capable woman whose daughter died recently, spoke with such heartfelt emotion, still carrying in her voice so much of the sorrow in her heart.  Was it appropriate to bring her before the crowd and subject her to all of those raw feelings in front of endless strangers?  Perhaps she too could have been interviewed sitting next to you and your wife in a more comfortable setting.

It bothers me that politicians sometimes use vulnerable and genuine people not necessarily for the value of their stories but in order to pull on the emotions of a crowd for purposes that are more about capturing votes than about celebrating the heroism or courage of those individuals being presented.

I understand your campaign people were trying to humanize you in some way.  But I wasn’t always comfortable with how those three wonderful people were used in order to do it.

I do think their admiration and love for you is completely sincere and well deserved.  You obviously touched their lives in significant and carrying ways.

But that reality seemed to lose its worthy impact once you started hammering away at President Obama in what I considered shameful and senseless attacks.

Why make him out to be someone who wants people to fail?  Why suggest that he hates business and success?  What purpose does it serve to try and tear him down in order to build up yourself?  To accuse him of not caring, of not leading.  He may not have done things your way.  He may not have the same experiences in life you have had.  But he has known success and he has tried under extremely difficult circumstances to work for all Americans.  Why do you have to make him into someone who doesn’t love our country simply because you don’t agree with his political philosophy? 

All of your attempts to disgrace and shame him and suggest he’s not a caring president were far from the mood of graciousness and humanitarianism your team created about you in the testimonies of the older couple and the well spoken woman who came before you.

Do you not see how, not just your attacks on President Obama’s policies, but on his character, on his patriotism, on his humanity, diminish all the sweet and kind things your friends said about you earlier?

There are ways to express our disagreements with others that can be noble and intelligent and even inspiring.  Had you chosen that approach it would have been a dynamic demonstration of the magnanimous and deeply religious man your wife and dear friends and others at the convention claim you to be.

There is always the hope that our politicians will take the high road in their campaigning, choosing to be men and women who speak with bold honesty but who are also poised and polished and professional in how they speak of their opponents.

We have not seen that in a long, long time.  Unfortunately, on a night when much of the nation and many across the world were waiting with anticipation, we did not see it from you either.

Such lost opportunities are rarely ever given again.  I am sad for you and for our country.


Timothy Moody

© 2012 Timothy Moody

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