I’ve recently come across a very fascinating video of Mitt Romney. It shows him in a much more genuine and authentic light than anything else I’ve come across.
This video takes place during the summer of 2007. It’s August, and Romney is sitting down for an interview with Jan Mickelson. Mickelson is the host of WHO 1040, a conservative Iowa radio station. (And Mickelson is conservative; if the Supreme Court doesn’t overturn Roe v. Wade, Mickelson wants the president to “tell the Supreme Court when it leaves its constitutional boundaries to go take a flying leap…because that’s what this country is crying for”.)
What’s most interesting, however, is what happens during the commercial break. This starts around 10:35. Romney, not knowing that he’s being filmed, has a heated discussion with Mickelson. He says a lot of things that he wouldn’t say in public. Take a look:
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what this video shows about Mitt Romney. Two things stand out. Both involve Mormonism.
1) Romney is very devoted to his church. It’s clear from the video that Christianity plays an enormous role Romney’s life. When Mickelson apparently gets wrong theological points that the Mormon Church holds, Romney seems to take personal offense. The way that he does so makes it apparent that Romney has a very deep knowledge of scripture and that he tries to spend his life living it as best he can. A person who is not deeply religious would not be offended at Mickelson the way that Romney was.
2) Romney has suffered because of this. Let me show two very revealing quotes. Here is Mickelson:
“[There are] people who will reject your Mormonism on a theological basis.”
And here is Romney, a bit later.
“And so what should I do? And so tell me what I should do.”
It’s a question to which there isn’t a very good answer.
But I want to touch upon something deeper here. This is the way that Romney reacts to talking about Mormonism. He doesn’t want to talk about it; he wants to pretend that the subject doesn’t exist and forget about it.
This type of reaction doesn’t occur naturally. It is a response to bigotry.
In fact, Romney’s response evokes something very personal in me. It reminds me of the way that ethnic minorities try very hard to downplay their race in white-dominated institutions. It reminds me of the way that Mexican Americans in my college almost never go to the Spanish language tables. Or the way that Chinese international students at my college never use chopsticks in the cafeterias, even when the cafeteria serves Chinese food.
I won’t vote for Mitt Romney. Until now, I’ve dismissed him as a man who’s never suffered from bigotry, who’s been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never experienced the troubles that normal people do. But I’m wrong. Romney has definitely suffered because of his religion.