When Mitt Romney accepted the nomination of his party to be their candidate for President of the United States, I was proud to be a Mormon. Finally, I thought to myself, we have been accepted by main stream America.
As a college student, I actively campaigned for George Romney, Mitt’s father, in his aborted run for the Presidency. Since then, I have been a Romney family admirer.
So it came as no surprise to me when many years later Mitt started his run.
Until I was in my first year of college, I had never gone to school with an African American. Yet, I was a civil rights supporter.
However, in 2008, when I had a chance to vote for an African American to be President, I didn’t.
This election puts me in an ironic position.
One, I have every interest in voting for Mitt Romney. We are fellow Mormons. A victory for Romney would be evidence that religious tolerance for Mormons is real in America. After all, except for the election of John Kennedy, a Catholic, all other Presidents have been to a greater or lesser degree affiliated with Protestant congregations.
Two, I have every interest in voting for Barack Obama. Why, after all my liberal positions regarding civil rights I didn’t vote for him the first time around, I will never be able to adequately understand. This time I have no excuses.
No matter who is elected, Romney or Obama, the economy will improve over the next four years. Both men are pragmatists. They are more interested in achieving things than holding to rigid ideological positions.
In The End . . .?
However, in the end, I will vote for Barack Hussein Obama.
If there is any racism left in American culture, I want to be a part of eliminating it. I believe that racial intolerance continues to be a key issue in American society. All things being equal, slavery is the single greatest tragedy of American history. To fully and completely come to grips with that transgression is the difference between America becoming the greatest nation that has ever existed, and an America that might have become the greatest nation to have ever existed.
If I have to personally make up ground on that issue, so be it. Let this be the time I do it.
Happy For Mitt
Having said that, I am happy Mitt Romney is running. This is a healthy development. If you haven’t noticed, this is the most diverse Presidential campaign in American history. An African American running against someone who is not a Protestant. As one who believes in pluralism, this is a victory for America.
After this race, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that some day a Muslim will run for President, and a Hindi too. Maybe even an avowed atheist.
In my estimation, that’s how a good nation becomes a great nation. As a result, not only does every person in America have a stake in America’s success, but every country as well. We are not only the melting pot into which all peoples and nations of the world flow, but we are a city on a hill whose light shines so that all the world can see and emulate it.
One time I was asked why I was voting for Obama. I said because he’s an African American. The person accused me of reverse racism. In fact I have been accused of that twice.
Maybe in some other time in the future that may become the case, but right now it is still a miracle that an African American couple occupies The White House. Just think, for two hundred years African Americans were slaves in America. They had very limited rights, if any. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued making slavery illegal, for another one hundred years, blacks were subjected to discriminatory Jim Crow laws in the South.
Not until the 1960’s, with the passage of historic civil rights legislation, was segregation in schooling, housing, and elections ended.
With all that this country has gone through, I don’t believe I am guilty of reverse discrimination.
No, it just doesn’t feel right to give into the argument that I am practicing reverse racism. To the contrary, I believe I am reinforcing the truth that finally we are overcoming racism in America.
But I must admit, it is an irony. My two greatest hopes are occurring at the same time – racial tolerance and religious freedom. Who would have thought it? In the end, who is the winner in all this? America. It’s a diverse ticket. It’s American pluralism. America wins either way.
Hurting Small Business
Someone commented the other day that I was hurting the small business owner by voting for Obama. How exactly am I doing that?
If we are talking about burdening small businesses with health care costs for their employees, remember, that law has already been passed. No one, Romney included, is going to repeal the health care act.
Plus, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from fines for not carrying insurance for their employees. And 96% of all small businesses in America have 50 or fewer employees.
Anyway, I have been a fan of universal health care for years. Finally, we passed a health care bill. I’m a strong believer that if health care costs are too high, that negatively hurts consumer spending. That, more than anything else, hurts small business. With the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, consumers will end up with more money to spend on consumer goods. The more they are able to spend, the more sales tax will be generated.
I was one of the pioneers in the so called “cottage industry” thirty years ago. This was a euphemism for starting a home business. Since that time I have helped in creating four small businesses, all with varying number of employees. None has gone out of business. So, there may be a lot of things I’m not very expert at, small business, however, isn’t one of them.
I fail to see how voting for Obama hurts me as a small business owner.
Remember, this election is a very personal one for me. As a Mormon I like the idea that there is no religious test when one runs for President. That makes me feel invested in the political process.
I also like the idea of America electing and re-electing an African American. This time around, I’m going to vote for re-electing an African American. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to have participated in that moment in history, however late I may have arrived at that point.