I’ve long felt that Mitt pales in comparison to his father George when it comes to understanding humanity (the 99 percent), particularly as it relates to equality issues. According to Peggy Fletcher Stack writing for the SLTrib (31 May 2012):
On June 9, 1978, the LDS Church made a momentous announcement ending a longtime ban on blacks being ordained to its all-male priesthood. . . .
A 31-year-old Mitt Romney was among those who cheered the change.
“I was driving home [from law school], going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Mass.,” Romney told NBC in 2007. “I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and literally wept. Even to this day, it’s emotional.”
Romney’s father, Michigan Gov. George Romney, had marched for civil rights alongside black activists and had walked out of the 1964 Republican convention to protest what he saw as Barry Goldwater’s weak defense of blacks.
So while Mitt “cried,” his father acted.
On a civil rights issue in Massachusetts, Mitt went the other direction. According to Andrew Miga writing for the Associated Press (2 Jun 2012):
Mitt Romney scuttled the Massachusetts government’s long-standing affirmative action policies with a few strokes of his pen on a sleepy holiday six months after he became governor.
No news conference or news release trumpeted Romney’s executive order on Bunker Hill Day, June 17, 2003, in the deserted Statehouse. But when civil rights leaders, black lawmakers and other minority groups learned of Romney’s move two month’s later, it sparked a public furor.
Mitt was later forced to retreat.
The issue of Mitt and Mormonism has frequently been defined as: Will Mormonism hurt Romney’s presidential campaign? But maybe the much bigger issue is: Will Mitt’s example hurt Mormonism’s cause?
Mitt has been running for president for at least 6 years, a time when he could have straightened out his income taxes, made an attempt at charitable giving (besides Harvard and BYU), made an effort to understand minorities, and worked to understand the real needs of the 99 percent. Instead we have a man who will only release minimal tax records (his father released 10 years), paid some of his tithing with stock (to avoid capital gains), owns three homes, and whose spouse has to settle for two Escalades. He exemplifies those Mormons and Evangelicals who believe in the prosperity gospel.
There is also the growing disparity between the super rich and everybody else. Mitt has done nothing to address this issue and seems intent on continuing practices which will only make the gulf worse. According to an article by Connie Cass (4 Jun 2012) of the Associated Press:
To see where the presidental candidates stand on taxing the rich, just look at how they’s tax themselves. Under his won proposal, Mitt Romney would pay half what he would under President Barack Obama’s tax plan. For a man of Romney’s means, that could save almost $5 million a year.
Yes, that is correct $5 million in taxes per year. According to a letter by Bennion Spencer in the SLTrib (7 Jun 2012):
The fine line Mitt Romney walks to stay true to his religious convictions and run for president seems to have disappeared. Last week, Romney shared the stage with billionaires Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson. Both men earn huge sums of from gambling and casinos.
I hope the world isn’t judging Mormons by Mitt’s example. I hope they will look at George’s record instead.