Here in Utah, Mormon capitol of the world, there’s been a lot of buzz since Mitt Romney lost the election for president.
The Latter-day Saints have lately been referring to this time as “the Mormon moment.” They knew the attention of the world would be on them, and upon examination would find them a great bunch, wonderful people, not the oddball cult of popular perception. Did that happen? Did the public come away from the election process with a more positive view of LDS people? I don’t know. I know that statistically Romney did well with white evangelical Christian voters, and they were the same bunch who a year or so ago claimed they would never vote for a Mormon. Mormons are not Christians, they said. So I guess in that case maybe there was a Mormon moment…or it could also have been a “hold your nose and vote for a Mormon” moment because to the right-wing crowd it was better than a “black, Muslim, non-citizen, socialist Obama” moment.
In late September some folks circulated an e-mail asking their LDS friends to fast and pray that Romney would do well in the October 3rd debate. And he did. Maybe they thought God took notice and they could extend the miracle through more fasting and more praying to put Mitt in the White House.
Ah, but then maybe God turned his attention to other matters. When I was a young, practicing Mormon I was taught that to pray for selfish gain would cause your prayers to bounce off the ceiling and go nowhere, leastwise to God’s ears. Maybe that happened in this case.
Or, if we come back to where the rest of us live, Planet Earth, we can see that the election ultimately had very little to do with Romney’s Mormon faith — despite the projecting done by his fellow church members — and more to do with his politics which were godawful.
After turning off my television when Obama’s re-election was announced, I listened and didn’t hear the screams of any dying Mormon neighbors throwing themselves out of windows. There were no nearby gunshots, and I haven’t heard any news reports of Mormon congregations committing mass suicide, so they were disappointed, but not despondent.
For those neighbors of mine, perhaps there will come a time when a Mormon, a faithful Latter-day Saint, will again aspire to the presidency. Maybe he’ll get elected. But I’ll bet he will learn from Mitt Romney’s campaign and use it as a template of what not to do if he wants to be president.
According to some Republicans pundits I heard analyzing the election,* all religion considerations aside, Romney’s remarks about his wealth, the “47 percent” comment, the sudden flip-flop from tea party-style right-winger to moderate Republican just turned off some voters.
I have supported Barack Obama since 2008, and continued my support this year. But I could have had more sympathy for a Republican candidate if he hadn’t been such a fool during the campaign, making terrible errors in judgment, verbal gaffes, and worst of all, direct references to his wealth. I’m not naïve. I don’t think anyone running for president in this country is poor. Unlike Romney they might not have a quarter of a billion dollars spread around in foreign banks or homes in several states, but they’re in no danger of being homeless and on the street. I didn’t like being constantly reminded that Romney is privileged, and upon being elected fully expected to keep his privileges. If Romney had said he would propose a higher tax rate on his fellow wealthy Americans I could have opened my mind to him a bit more, but he couldn’t do that.
Lest I be accused of flip-flopping, I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I might not have held the disgust and disdain for him and his campaign that I did. And that’s got nothing to do with Romney’s religion, but Romney himself.
*I also heard some right-wingers on Fox Network squealing as if they had been speared. They had convinced themselves that political polls showing an Obama margin for victory were part of a liberal conspiracy, and that Romney was sure to win despite those crooked polls. They gave all kinds of excuses for the Romney loss, none of which had much to do with reality, but everything to do with their self-deluded mindset. It’s as if the election was a football or basketball game, lost by bad officiating rather than by the bad play of the players.