At last we know exactly who the real Mitt Romney is.
At last we see his "core", the essence of his character. And he's definitely NOT the "good man" that George H.W. Bush said he was endorsing in late March.
He's a rotten, irresponsible, cold-blooded liar. And he is cruel. He's even willing to lie when he doesn't have to, when the stakes are small and the harm is great. He's even willing to lie when the lie is stupidly, cringingly transparent and calculated to feed racism and division in America. He's willing to lie when the lie further frightens the ignorant and helpless old people around me.
Indeed, in my seventy-six years, he's the worst man to run for president as a candidate of a major party. No other candidate, Republican or Democratic, has ever revealed such a total lack of character. Not even Nixon when, in the 1968 campaign, he said he had a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam. At least maybe there was some subjective truth to what he said; maybe he thought he had a plan or could devise one.
Romney's lie slid past every major mainstream commentator last Monday in Milwaukee when he said, "I think that there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism. And I know that, based upon reports, the Obama administration gave this a lot of thought, a lot of discussion."
Really? Does Romney really believe that the White House staff and the President sit around trying to figure out how to establish secularism as the new religion in America. Not focusing on the Iran situation, or the economy, or gas prices, or what to do if the Supreme Court overturns the health care act, or other things that are actual issues.
They want to start a new religion of non-religion? Why, in heaven's name, (forgive the reference) would they want to?
It's a silly accusation on the face of it. It poses a conspiracy that has no point to it, no credible benefit for the supposed conspirators. Romney himself can't possibly believe this nonsense.
But it's not a lightweight smear of a lie. It's vicious in its intent and pernicious in its result.
It's guaranteed to feed the racist hatred that already engulfs the approximate 30 to 40% of our fellow Americans who HATE President Obama principally because he is "the other". Most of them believe all of the following: He's not white. He stole the election by pretending to be born an American. He's pretending to be a Christian but is really a Muslim. He is secretly taking America into European-style socialism. He has a Kenyan Mau-Mau outlook on our western world. He is "apologizing" for America all over the world and thus disgracing us. He was reluctant to have Bin Laden killed. These are the lies the 30-40% truly believe.
I live among the people who believe this crap. In the Pennsylvania mountain valleys of our Northern Appalachia, it is actually Alabama, as once noted by Democratic strategist James Carville. But these Northern Southerners are not bad people. They are, indeed, very good people. But they are ignorant, isolated, poor, and feeling very threatened by a rapidly changing America they do not understand. They "cling to their guns and their Bibles", just as Obama said in 2008. His was a sound and compassionate take on these folk. They are indeed clinging, out of fear, to all that they have left to give them any sense of security. Even their families are being ripped away from them as their young ones flee to higher education and city jobs. Many of my neighbors are alone now, facing old age without any recourse to the extended family life that dominated the region until the past fifteen years.
I bitterly resent Mitt Romney, or any other ruthless huckster, battening on the fears infecting my friends and neighbors. They are good and sweet people, dreadfully lost in a cloud of impenetrable "religious" haze that teaches them that science is a hoax, the mainstream media is the prisoner of "liberals", and that all the problems we must solve as a society are actually but signs of the impending "end-days" and thus should be welcomed. Many in my tiny zip-code community of two hundred actually believe that Al Quaeda has targeted us and we are about to be placed under shariah law. Not "us" as Americans generally, but "us" as a community of two hundred struggling old people!
To paraphrase the old ad, it ain't nice to pick on poor and frightened old people. Among them is ninety-three-year-old Isabel. She lives alone, managing as best she can though her eyesight is now going. She still grieves her dear husband whom she nursed at home in his final illness although she was then in her eighties. When my husband died six years ago, it was Isabel's crackly old voice that gave me courage. But now Isabel is deeply terrified. She and our other elderly now have more nightmares, among them losing their monthly Social Security. It's all they've got. That and their religion, both of which the GOP says they will lose.
Thanks a lot, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and all you other deficit-distorting hawks! My poor neighbors and friends believe that Social Security is running out of funds RIGHT NOW. They think they face imminent starvation. They who have fed everyone they ever came across who was in need, who raise funds for disaster victims with community suppers of over-salted corn soup and the world's worst "ham pot pie", which is very little ham and mostly lumps of dough that never digest.
Now Romney compounds the fear factor that drives the far right. He adds yet another burden to the aching fear the uneducated and confused already carry. He tells them that Obama has a conspiracy to take away their religion. In their ignorance they believe that a president can do this. Their religion is their last comfort in a comfortless world where they can no longer afford to even heat their homes above 50 degrees and where they might not get next month's precious Social Security check.
Romney told this lie about secularism and the White House when he didn't have to. By Monday, April 2 in Milwaukee, he had sewn up the Wisconsin primary and by every calculation he had the GOP nomination in the bag. He didn't need to lie that day to get more far right support. And he knew it.
What he doesn't know and doesn't care about is people. Like poor little ninety-three-year-old Isabel. He's willing to lie in order to further terrify people whose vote he's already got. That's just vile cruelty.
No. Romney is not the "good man" that George H.W. Bush said he was endorsing.
He's an evil man.
This evil man must not be president of the United States.
Let's win this one, not just for Obama and for our future, but let's win it for old and fragile Isabel. Let's win it for all the fearful and misguided who oppose us and will not thank us for looking out for them when they are too misguided and exploited to look out for their own best interest. Instead of resenting and demeaning them for their hatred and ignorance, let us be their guardians. Let us be the extended families they have lost. Let us leave no one behind. Can we work hard to win a victory for which they will resent us even more?
Yes, we can. And by all that is good, we must. We must defeat Romney and the GOP.