While tidying up on my computer recently, I ran across a couple of misfiled snippets. One was a quote from Ronald Reagan. The other, a 2012 letter I’d written to the editor of the White Mountain Independent supporting the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.
I was proud to vote for Reagan both times he ran for president. But President Reagan was first elected the year my 40-year-old son was born, so he’s ancient history to anyone in that age group.
How could an actor and former union boss have been such an effective governor and president? What did he have other than great oratorical skills? One thing he had going for him was that he wasn’t a career politician; he’d actually held jobs not funded by taxpayers. The same could be said of Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.
Interesting to note that both Reagan and Trump started out as Democrats. They were thoughtful enough that, when they matured, they changed parties. I admire people with the courage to reevaluate their beliefs and make changes to reflect a new stance.
Imagine changing your political position! How deliberate a political changeover must be to not elicit the same reaction that made Benedict Arnold distasteful to the British who stiffened their upper lips and (barely) accepted him.
Today, Mitt Romney is a Senator from Utah. While he may not have the courage of his stated conservative convictions, I still would vote for him over Barack Obama (or Joe Biden) any day of any week. How would he have been as president? Well, he couldn’t have been any worse than Michelle’s husband.
I’ve wondered how much Romney’s being Mormon contributed to his 2012 defeat. Until that race, I’d had no idea of the rabid misperceptions among people about Mormons in general. I was born into and have lived most of my life in heavily LDS-peopled communities and never gave their religion any more thought than anyone else’s. In 2012, it was shocking to hear well-educated, intelligent people (most of whom didn’t live in the western half of the country) get squirrelly over Mormonism. For some of those I spoke with, the only Mormon they’d ever heard of was Warren Jeffs. And they had no clue that there was an ‘F’ in front of his branch of LDS. We all have our blind spots, but that’s a big one!
Reagan, Romney and Trump are very disparate men.
But for my sorry filing system, I’d probably never have thought of them in the same moment, but it’s interesting to think outside the box.
As we consider our upcoming election, savor these timely words:
“From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
Ronald Reagan; excerpt, first Presidential inauguration speech; 1/20/1981