|Mitt Romney at GOP Convention|
photo from Ann Romney's Facebook page
So when I look at who I should vote for, I look at how well the candidates’ ideas line up with the principles that we know lead to civilization, freedom, and free enterprise. This week at the GOP convention (which I watched from home) has been a good week. A lot of looking up—how to get up to the northern, civilized, freedom zone.
Others may be watching for strategy, or for excitement that will motivate the army of activists to go get out the vote, or for some rhetoric so soaring that it will be remembered and compared in future years. I very much enjoy a brilliant, well-said phrase; I collect the quotable. But I mostly leave that kind of examination to others. I want to know the philosophy and character, to know how well it lines up with what we know will place us in the northern hemisphere of the Spherical Model.
There was much to enjoy in Paul Ryan’ talk, as well as speeches by Marco Rubio, Condoleeza Rice, Mia Love, Chris Christie, and others—and I may take a later post just to enjoy those. But what we need to know is whether we have upper hemisphere hopes from our future president—who will lead the direction of the country. And Romney’s speech did what it needed to for me.
He used the word “optimism” four times, and referred, in various ways, to hope for a better future a few more times. That in itself is upward looking—if it’s tied to the right principles. And I believe it is.
Some of what we need to know about Romney, I have known for a long time; it was a matter of getting the picture out for others, during a time when cynicism is so rampant that a decent family man who wants to serve others seems too good to be true. But he has indeed lived his life that way. Some of the telling had to come from others, and that happened this week. Ann Romney began to introduce this good man to people who hadn’t noticed before, or been willing to believe who he was. And that was followed by a string of actual recipients of his quiet, unpaid, unrecognized service. This must have gotten the story out, because after his speech, the PBS commentators stumbled, trying to come up with descriptors for the speech that clearly didn’t align with their worldview, but they decided to agree Romney is just, really, a decent man.
Does he believe in God, so that he can understand God is the giver of our inalienable rights? Yes. Does he live the Ten Commandments as the basic level of civilization? Yes, and refined with the Sermon on the Mount, I Corinthians 13, and other scriptural directions on how to be the person God wants you to be.
Does he place family as the central civilizing force? Yes.
About Paul Ryan, he said, “I love the way he lights up around his kids and how he's not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.”
About his parents, and then his and Ann’s family, he said:
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.
Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family--and God's love—this world would be a far more gentle and better place.
The line I highlighted lets us know, maybe more than anything, that this is not someone who believes in taking power to enforce government on minions. This line, about connecting with his church and community, also tells us he understands how thriving civilization happens:
And that's how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families for our joy, our support, in good times and bad. It is both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths.
A look at Romney’s business record is an example for the world of free enterprise at its best. He told a little of the Bain story—and having it come after the “evil vulture capitalist” claim was revealed as a lie made it clear his success was real success. And that allowed him to say this:
These are American success stories. And yet the centerpiece of the President's entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression? In America, we celebrate success, we don't apologize for it.
We know he understands and believes in the free enterprise system when he follows his story with this:
It's the genius of the American free enterprise system – to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that is dedicated to creating tomorrow's prosperity rather than trying to redistribute today's.
That is why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: "you are better off today than you were four years ago."
Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.
He didn’t have to be personally negative about President Obama; that would have seemed gratuitous piling on when it is clear to everyone—everyone—that he has failed to provide financial success, American freedom, and social thriving. Obama has failed because he follows the rules that keep people in the southern hemisphere of tyranny. He is literally a tyrant, whether he has the personality of other worldwide tyrants or not. But it isn’t necessary to use that kind of term; all that is necessary is to point out that what we want—personal freedom, economic opportunity, and thriving civilization—can be reached on a path that claims government control is the answer.
This was one of my favorite lines, because what I want during this campaign is to see clearly the truth about the candidates. This shows the contrast:
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise...is to help you and your family.
He doesn’t mean he will micromanage your family from Washington; he means he will set an example of a strong family—and how to Dad—but also will help by getting roadblocks out of the way so families can succeed through hard work and helping one another. Economically, things will get better. Freedom will improve with adherence to the Constitution:
That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.
That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
This is an America we remember, if we’re old enough and from the right places (I am both). And now I feel free to hope we will return to thriving. Things are indeed looking up.