Monday, February 27, 2012

Making a Connection

People complain that Mitt Romney doesn’t “connect” with people. What does that even mean—is it like in sixth grade, when my friend Bonnie and I skipped class so her mom could take us to the high school to see Ronald Reagan speak? I reached over the railing, and he shook my hand in the sea of other hands he shook. The star of “Bed time for Bonzo” shook my hand—oh, yeah, and the president! I felt connected.

I have to say I don’t agree with critics’ claims that Mitt can’t make a connection. I think he can, at least with me. Not because my bank account is in the millions. It isn't. I wouldn’t be opposed to that changing. Not because we share the same religion. We do. But so does Harry Reid. Not even because we are both Republicans. We are. As is Herman Cain.

I don't really even care about any of that. Yes, Mitt is kind—remember the story of when his business partner’s daughter went missing in New York and he shut down the offices so everyone could help find her (and they did)? Yes, Mitt is generous—he donates millions and millions of dollars to charity (and not just his church). And, yes, Mitt is a man of great standards and principles—beyond his religious activity, his body guard once described him as “Wicked smart and squeaky clean” (oh, yeah, he’s smart too—law and business degrees from Harvard—sheesh!).

But let's not forget what the biggest issues really are right now--ballooning debt, out of control spending, horrible foreign relations, the government spreading dangerously into too many aspects of our lives. We need someone who can get America back on the right path, someone who loves this nation and understands its unique and critical position in the world, and knows how to get our economy and our nation back on solid ground.

I don't care if he eats cheeseburgers off the dollar menu or shops at Old Navy. I don't care what kind of car and how many he drives. I don’t care about where he vacations (if people really cared about that wouldn't we be more outraged at Michelle Obama’s 19 vacations in the last three years--that we are helping to pay for?). I don't care if he feels my pain.

No, what I care about, what I relate to, is creating an America that my children can love the way I have, that they can feel pride and joy when the Boy Scout walks past in the parade carrying our nation’s flag. I want a president who holds our country to a higher standard, thereby holding each of its citizens to a higher standard that, because of our freedom and opportunities, we can reach and achieve. That's what I connect with.

I grew up in a small town in Idaho (I guess it’s pretty impressive we actually had presidential visits there). At age eleven, I started my first summer job, along with a few of my siblings, moving irrigation pipe in a nearby farmer’s wheat and potato fields. It was a far cry from the Boston suburbs or LaJolla, California. But it was an important part of America for me. It was where I learned what’s really important in life, and how abundantly we are blessed here in this great country. I don’t have to live the same lifestyle as someone else in order to connect with them. It’s our humanity, our desire for peace—our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that “connects” us. Those are things Mitt Romney stands for. Under his leadership, those are the things that will flourish, those are the things that will make our country the country I grew up loving.

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