Which America?

| September 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

 America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and
 lose our freedoms; it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
  — Abraham Lincoln

Mitt Romney has repeatedly said the presidential campaign is between two visions of America.

As a candidate for president, Mr. Romney has frequently been frustratingly ambiguous, but in this he is perfectly clear: the critical choice before voters is just that, two different visions of America.

Mr. Romney’s vision, refracted through a narrower beam of light, is about wealth and white power, about privilege and entitlement; while President Obama’s vision, also refracted, but through a broader beam that reaches further, even if the bending of its light too often benefits the same people of wealth and privilege.

Mr. Romney’s America is not the America of black and brown people, of the middle class and poor, of the unemployed and under-employed, of single moms and college students facing usurious loan repayments, of the uninsured and those who work at three jobs to put bread on the table, of those pushed further and further toward society’s margins.

None of this is in Mr. Romney’s resume. How could it be, given his background and pedigree as a child of privilege and wealth? He’s never had to face the economic uncertainty that shadows most of his fellow Americans.

I give Mr. Romney credit for endeavoring to connect with the rest of us, even while failing in that attempt, as the absence of empathy is a strain and struggle upon the man’s soul. He tries and tries again but each time he comes up short. He was blessed as a child at birth, blessings without number by a beneficent creator, but was denied the empathy gene (life isn’t fair, President Kennedy said).

Mr. Romney of Michigan, Massachusetts, and La Jolla, will go down in the history of U.S. presidential candidates as one of its greatest oddities. You see him, so handsome, so Central Casting good looking, a beautiful wife at his side, wonderful children and grandchildren, a business success, an inspiring leader of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a man who tells us his Mormonism runs deep, and yet despite every conceivable advantage, a man who does not appear to know his own soul.

A mystery to us, yes, but how can he remain such a mystery to himself?
In his quest to become president, through the long slough of seemingly endless primaries, he kept turning away from positions he had once admirably held, not least his greatest achievement, medical care for the citizens of Massachusetts; something he celebrated, remember? with Ted Kennedy at his side.

Why did he do that? And why does he keep denying his own political record? Is it because his advisers persuaded him to win the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States he needed the votes of the most reactionary elements within his party, an element that has over the past two years turned a once great political party into a right-wing freak show; an element who’s defining moment remains the idiotic claim President Obama is not an American citizen.

In becoming the nominee of this party, and in his admirable ambition to become the 45th President, Mr. Romney will now ask us to support his candidacy by forgiving him for what he will surely suggest was nothing more than aberrational behavior during the primaries. He will tell us that is not who I am, that we should look to the whole of his life before Iowa to discover the real Mitt Romney. Between now and November 6, that will be the premise upon which his campaign’s future depends.

When you run for president you should have 1) a clear sense of one’s self; 2) a clear vision of America’s future, clearly and unambiguously stated; 3) a pledge, however great the challenge, to narrow the great wealth divide that daily undermines our democracy; 4) an understanding that however great our military might be it cannot untangle the world’s many entanglements; meaning no more Iraqs, no more Afghanistans; no more trillions of dollars spent and American blood spilled in the misguided effort to save people who despise us, 5) a commitment to rebuild our falling down infrastructure, which imperils our nation as much as any threat from abroad; 6) a moral commitment to bridge our racial divide; its 236-years on and it curses us yet; 7) a clearly stated policy to finally curb the power of Wall Street and end its destructive hold on our economy; 8) a promise to the nation’s young people there will be a place for them going forward, so that they too may experience the American dream we were privileged to share, 9) the assurance that health care will be extended to all and will be financed in part by a Social Security and Medicare means test; and 10), the signing of a new and sacred Magna Carta with the People of America, one that affirms in word and deed we’re in this together and together we shall prevail!

While Mr. Obama has erred often in his presidency and has disappointed many, especially those who formed his most enthusiastic supporters in 2008, Mr. Romney has not come close to representing or understanding the 10 essential question raised above.

While doubts about Mr. Romney by national media has been a constant in his campaign, save for Fox News and right-wing talk radio, they escalated with his choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate.

Did Mr. Romney understand in selecting Mr. Ryan he selected a disciple of Ayn Rand, the Queen of Me and God Despiser.

When the Romney campaign vetted Mr. Ryan, did they overlook his devotion to Ms. Rand? Did they miss he’s an Ayn Rand acolyte? And if they did, then by what right do either they or the candidate they represent considered themselves worthy to be trusted with the highest office within the gift of the American People to bestow?

Paul Ryan’s connection to Ms. Rand is compounded by his own confessed Christian faith, because her “philosophy” is the antithesis of the life of Jesus and his teachings.

The resurrection of Ayn Rand’s wealth glorification philosophy, one embraced by Alan Greenspan as head of the Fed, when his supreme reign over monetary policies resulted in the greatest wealth divide in our history, may have been key to Paul Ryan’s believing the woman worthy of his devotion, but surely now he must see you cannot be the Tea Partiers champion while consorting with a God denier.

But while Mr. Greenspan escaped political and media criticism, even in the near death experience of the nation’s economy, in no small measure because he’s the husband of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell (the culture of Washington is a self-protecting culture), Mr. Ryan will not fare so well.

Intense media focus has arisen about Mr. Ryan and Ms. Rand, with Maureen Dowd of The New York Times writing that when the Wisconsin congressman realized worshipping an atheist was bad politics he began worshiping St. Thomas Aquinas.

Let’s be very clear: You cannot be a follower of Ayn Rand and a follower of Jesus Christ.

Or, as a group of Jesuits wrote to Mr. Ryan, “Your budget appears to reflect your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

You may recant of having youthful intoxication with the Queen of Me, of somehow confusing her message of greed with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, but it’s fair to ask when did his devotion to the first begin and his devotion to the second end?

In choosing Mr. Ryan as his running mate, Mr. Romney has given Democrats a gift that rivals John McCain’s of 2008 in choosing Sarah Palin.

Barack Obama will win going away.

George Mitrovich is a San Diego civic leader. He may be reached at, gmitro35@gmail.com

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