Politics Explained: Mormons Ignore Romney as One of Them

In the last 6 months, as the election has been heating up, I’ve done a bit of travelling. I have been on the East and West Coasts of the US and up and down Eastern Europe. In my travels, I often wear BYU gear and when people see that they assume that I am a Latter-day Saint (LDS) (AKA Mormon). Their assumptions are good. But then another assumption is immediately made. “Oh, you’re Mormon…So you’re a Romney fan.” I shouldn’t be surprised by that statement because I get it a lot, but I’m always taken aback. I feel that my integrity as a politically involved member of society is in question when people make that assumption. I don’t want people to think that my political opinions are based primarily on a candidate’s religion. So I usually retort with, “Yes, I’m a Romney fan…but not because I’m a Mormon.”

Politics Explained: Mitt Romney speaks at Mormon University - BYU

Romney speaks at BYU commencement

Recently, I’ve engaged in some self-reflection. Why do I get so defensive when people accuse me of basing my political beliefs on my religious ties, and should I be? I think I get so defensive because I feel that me admitting that I like Romney because he’s LDS, would justify people not liking him for the same reason.

True as that may be, there is a fine line here. Was it wrong for African-Americans to be excited about Barack Obama becoming the very first African-American president? Was it wrong for Greek Americans to be excited about Mike Dukakis being the first Greek Orthodox nominee for president? What about Catholics and JFK? Now, can Latter-day Saints be excited about Mitt Romney as one of their own having a legitimate chance of victory? My answer is, yes.

Latter-day Saints, from both parties, should feel able to be excited about Mitt Romney as a Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not always been even tolerated in the United States. In 1838, Governor Boggs in Missouri issued Executive Order 44 – commonly known as the Mormon Extermination Order. The Governor issued an order allowing citizens to drive Latter-day Saints from the state and kill any who resisted… Kill any who resisted…. That was not the only time Mormons were driven from their homes. Now, just under two-hundred years later, a member of that church that was forced from the country into the barren wasteland that became vibrant Salt Lake Valley is now competing for the highest office in the land. It’s a great moment for Latter-day Saints and should be celebrated.

Politics Explained: Mormons forced from America

Mormons Pioneers Forced West

Will Latter-day Saints vote for Romney knowing nothing more than the fact that he is LDS? I would hope not, just like I would hope that African-Americans would not vote for Obama just knowing that he is African-American. But can either of these groups be justified in citing their cultural ties as a reason for voting? Should society turn a blind eye to a candidate’s religious, cultural, and ethnic background? My answer to that is “no”.

My religion has made me who I am. From my religious upbringing, I have learned how I should treat other people and define my own priorities. My perspective on life’s problems would be vastly different if I was not raised LDS and served an LDS mission to Ukraine. To turn a blind eye to that would be to turn a blind eye to my character. To turn a blind eye to a candidate’s character is to turn a blind eye to how they are going to act in the Office of the Presidency.

Politics Explain: Mormons excited about Mitt Romney

Mormons Excited For Mitt

So Mormons, be excited about Mitt Romney. Don’t be ashamed of what you share a common set of religious beliefs. African-Americans, do the same. Look to the candidates’ character to understand how they will do their job, but understand that we are voting for the President of the United States, not the President of the student body. This is not a popularity contest; too much is at stake.

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Ann Romney Shows It’s OK to be Rich

Politics Explained: Ann Romney, Mrs. America

Mrs. America herself, Ann Romney

Ann Romney has been widely praised for her address at the recent Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. There have been posters, T-Shirts, even purses with her picture and the caption, “Mrs. America.” This hype is produced by Republicans who are excited to vote for her husband and make her the First Lady. However, I’ve been following this election close enough to know exactly what the opposition was thinking. For those liberals who were watching, many probably sat there and thought, “Don’t patronize me and talk like you understand me. How could someone in a fancy silk blouse that is worth a months pay check really care about me?” (people actually were making similar comments about the blouse on youtube).

The thing is, Ann Romney is not a middle class housewife…She’s a filthy rich housewife, and they’re not trying to fool anyone. The Romney’s don’t try to pretend like they are underprivileged. They don’t stretch the truth to make them seem like they’ve gone through more financial struggles than they have, like the opposing candidate has done (read about that here). They are honest with their circumstances past and present.

There has been a lot of encouragement for Romney to be forthright about his wealth. In all reality he has nothing to hide. Though his Father was a wealthy business man and governor, Romney did not get his wealth from his Dad. Instead, he took his inheritance and gave it all to charity. He didn’t need it because he was making it on his own.

But my point here is not to tell you about how the Romney’s know what it’s like to be poor and start their own business in order to possibly make ends meet. My point here is to say that it’s OK to be rich.

Because of Mitt’s financial success, he and his dear wife Ann are in a special position to help lift and inspire others, in this case, the American people and they are living up to that opportunity. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that Governor Romney has likely read multiple times. It reads, “And before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19). I’m confident Mr. Romney has read that because he and his wife live it.

Politics Explained: Mitt and Ann Romney prove it's OK to be rich

Mitt and Ann as our advocates

Mitt and Ann Romney have dedicated their lives to helping others. Over 16% of his 2011 income was given to charities or other charitable organizations. Mitt and Ann are now advocates for those who wish the same success that they’ve seen in life.

When Ann Romney gets up to that large podium in Tampa, FL and says, “I’ve been around the country and heard your stories and feel your pain,” she is not being condescending, she is being sincere. She and her husband are advocates for all those who are struggling.

But they don’t understand my struggles, you may say. They don’t know what it’s like to be unemployed for 8 months or struggle from pay check to pay check…But let’s think about that. Does it really matter? First off, the Romneys have likely experienced more hardships than you are aware. Secondly, it doesn’t matter that they haven’t personally experienced every trial that every American now faces. Because the Romney’s and I share this belief that there is only One who could ever do that.

The fact of the matter is, the most important fact is that the Romneys care. The most important thing they could do to connect with the middle and lower classes is not to personally walk in their shoes, but to have an open mind and heart when hearing personal stories. I challenge all who read to find evidence pointing to the fact that Romney does not care about the success of all Americans from every walk of life. You just won’t find anything. You may find some fact that has been twisted by the Obama campaign that leads the misinformed to believe that the Romneys are heartless, but deep within that very fact will be the fact that the reason the Romneys have done what they have is because they love American and believe in its future. Mitt Romney’s entire campaign has been about believing in America and getting America back to work again. He has the skills and experiences necessary to get the job done. More importantly, he has the sincere desire to do so.

Politics Explained: Mitt and Ann Romney care about America

Mitt and Ann care about America

So next time you see Mrs. Romney wearing a fancy piece of Jewelry, or hear Gov. Romney refer to just how many cars he owns, don’t think that equates with not caring about the millions of Americans struggling under this economy. Because frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Politics Explained: Mitt Romney Releasing his Tax Returns

Whether or not Mitt Romney will release his tax returns has become a big question in the media, especially as allegations are being thrown around like a baseball concerning those very taxes. So what’s the big deal? Why does Obama care so much about Romney releasing even more tax returns (because he’s already released two years worth), what do we expect to find in these tax returns, and why doesn’t Romney just release them? Well, as with everything having to do with this campaign, it’s all political.

Politics Explained: Obama demanding Mitt Romney's Tax returns

Politics Explained: Obama demands Romney’s tax returns

First off, where did this all come from? Why does Obama even care? Well, it has become some sort of a tradition for presidential candidates to release as much as 10 years worth of tax returns, detailing how much money they made, how much they paid in taxes, and what kind of investments were made and exemptions received. Why this became tradition, I don’t really know. It really does nothing except expose potential tax fraud and show you just how rich these candidates are. But either way, it has become tradition and Obama is using it to his advantage.

Well, one of Obama’s campaign strategies is to portray Romney as a rich, insensitive, disconnected, heartless capitalist who cares more about his money than the American people. Every bit of information Obama can get about Romney’s taxes will just serve as more ammunition. But why is that? What is in those tax returns that is so valuable to Obama.

Politics Explained: Romney's Taxes are lower due to capital gains tax rates

Politics Explained: Romney’s investment career

Well, here’s what we’ll find in those tax returns. First you’ll find that Governor Romney only pays about 14% of his income in taxes. This, according to Obama, is evidence of the unfair tax code. But what he won’t tell you is why. He pays 14% because, since he is retired, he’s making his money from returns on investments. This is called “capital gains” and as of right now, the capital gains tax rate is effectively 15%. “But you said he probably paid more like 14%.” Well, that’s because he took advantage of deductions. Obama will use that to try and show that Romney is greedy and out of touch. But let me ask you a question. Would you ever not take a tax deduction that you could legally obtain? Do you know anyone who would ever pay more in taxes out of the goodness of their heart? No. People don’t do that, but Obama would have you believe that Romney is not patriotic because of that fact. Another reason you will find that he pays less in taxes is because he gives a large portion of his income to charity. We would not be surprised to find that 10% of his income went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And obviously that proves that he is a member of a cult that is making secret plans to take over the government (sarcasm intended).

The last thing you’ll find is that Romney invested in foreign companies and businesses. The Obama campaign will show that his tax returns are proof that Romney doesn’t believe in America. But, really, Romney is doing what anyone else would do. Try to be as prosperous as possible. Because do you know what he did with the money he made from investing abroad? He spent it in America. He gave to charities. He purchased a home, a car (or two or three), gave people jobs, bought specialty items from small businesses. He contributed to the economy more than he could have if he had not invested abroad.

So that’s why Obama wants Romney to come out with these tax returns, because he has a plan of attack for each and every point. And to make things better for him, in the mean time, Obama can paint Romney as having something to hide for not releasing his tax returns. This is why Obama won’t let it go, because either way you slice it, Romney loses.

But so, why doesn’t Romney just own up to his tax returns and release them? Why can’t he just get it over with. I mean the Obama campaign manager even sent Romney a deal that if he released just 5 years worth, he promised out of the goodness of his heart to not attack Romney on them. Now what are the chances that deal would be kept? Sure, the Obama campaign may not attack him, but they don’t need to, they have the media to do all of their dirty work for them.

So what? Either way, Romney is being attacked, why not just release them and be transparent? Because, he is choosing the lesser of two evils. By not releasing, not only does he avoid the calculated attacks that I’ve already mentioned, but he avoids looking weak by giving in to the demands of the Obama campaign. Yes, he lacks complete transparency, but he has decided, and I agree with this decision, that it is better for people to make themselves look ridiculous making unfounded accusations than have him distract from the message on the economy to defend his taxes.

Obama wants nothing more than to distract from the current economic struggles, and Romney won’t let him.

Politics Explained: Romney and Obama come to a head.

Politics Explained: The beginning of a tense race

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Politics Explained: Biden says Romney’s “going to put y’all back in chains”

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t surprise me, but I am still taken aback by the divisiveness of this administration. Obama and Biden alike have taken to the streets to split America in two by engaging in class warfare.

The two of them, are going across America to rile up the poor against the rich. They are inciting anger and envy that will only subside once they get their way and have taxed the rich into oblivion and decreased everyone’s standard of living. To them, if everyone can’t be successful, no one should be, because that’s what’s “fair.” It was once said, if you want more success, you have to stop attacking success, and that is why Obama must be stopped.

Now about the politics of this all. I’m not sure if Biden was making a reference to the Civil War and slavery with his, “going to put y’all back in chains” comment. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and just say his rhetoric was just a little extreme. Even so, even without an intentional reference to slavery and the Civil War, just listen to how that comment was received.

And another thing. From the way Biden was speaking, can you guess where he’s from? You guessed it…Pennsylvania. Wait, I didn’t know Pennsylvanians had a Southern drawl? I guess you learn something new every day. And did you hear how he let his grammar go? This man is pandering. He is playing up the crowd, and he’s going to change his message, his accent, and his vocabulary at the next campaign stop. Because that’s what Biden and Obama do. They do whatever is necessary to be elected; that is priority number one.

But doesn’t Romney do the same thing? Sure he’ll adjust his message from campaign stop to campaign stop based on what is important to that people, but I challenge you to find an instance of him changing so dramatically that he sounds like a different candidate. When Romney spoke to the civil rights organization, the NAACP, he didn’t pander to African Americans; he didn’t just tell them what they wanted to hear. He delivered the same message of economic recovery that he has been spreading across the United States.

That’s the difference between Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden. Romney/Ryan are concerned with one thing, getting the country back on track. They are concerned, not with dividing the country, but unifying it and raising up everyone together. Obama/Biden just don’t want to leave their posh seats in the capital. Because if they were really concerned about putting the American public in chains, they would be taking a serious look at how they are creating a dependency on the government.

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Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan as VP says about Mitt Romney

I woke up very excited as I got a notification from my “Romney VP” smartphone app, telling me that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. The thing is, this pick explains much and speaks volumes to the character and future presidency of Mitt Romney, and they’re only good things.

Politics Explained: The Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan VP Pick

Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan says about Mitt Romney

Before we can understand too much about what this says about Mitt, we need some background on the pick himself, namely Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is an ideological leader of congressional republicans. As a member of the budget committee, he has presented bold and innovative ideas for balancing the budget and reigning in out-of-control government spending – ideas that I will be discussing in future posts. The most important thing to note, is that Paul Ryan is no passive voice in the government. Obama knows who this guy is and knows that he’s a threat.

So what does this say about Romney. It says for one that he’s serious. If you have ever heard someone say, “Romney just does things to get elected,” this should support the opposite. If Romney was worried solely about being elected, he  would have picked Condi Rice, an African-American woman. Or he would have picked Marco Rubio, a Latino from Florida. Or he would have picked someone with a more bland political record, someone who won’t draw much fire from the liberal media like Ryan already is. But no, he picks Ryan. And why? Because being elected for Romney is merely a means to an end. For Romney, the end result is putting America back on track. The goal is to make America unquestionably prosperous again.

Some critics are saying that this pick is political suicide and that it draws attention away from Obama’s first term. Nothing could be more wrong, and in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. This pick by Romney shines a bright spotlight on the failed policies of the last 4 years and will bring the economic issues that face our country to the forefront of public debate instead of having them swept aside by distractions from the Obama people.

This is also a testimonial to the fact that Romney has the great ability to surround himself with the best people. At Bain Capital, Romney built his company by surrounding himself with the best and brightest in the field, and it worked. He has shown how he can do that in his political career as well. He made his decision, not based on demographics or polls, but on merit. He found the brightest, most articulate and talented person who understands almost better than anyone else, just where this country is headed economically, and he put him on the team. Imagine what this will mean for the future White House Staff and Presidential cabinet? This means that he won’t look at these decisions with a political lens  trying to decide which appointment will make him most popular. He will judge people according to the content of their character and their merits instead of any other test.

Selecting Paul Ryan as VP was Romney’s first major presidential decision, and he passed with flying colors. We can expect more of this great leadership and decision making from Governor Romney if we elect him as President come November.

Politics Explained: America's comeback dream team

Politics Explained: Paul Ryan truly makes this a winning ticket for America

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The Promise of America

Video

Politics can be complicated, but Romney explains everything in plain English so that we can truly comprehend the “Promise of America.” This video is inspirational and gives me hope for the future of our country.

I feel the key line in this video is “The President puts his faith in government; we put our faith in the American people.”

In the most recent State of the Union address, President Obama quoted President Lincoln, one of the greatest Republicans of all time, who said, “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.” Now, President Obama takes that to mean that the government can do everything better and therefore should. I join Mitt Romney in saying that you need to have more faith than that in the American people.

We, as a country, have accomplished many great things. Throughout our relatively short history we have become a world power, emanating the benefits of democracy and capitalism. We have not become that because the government made it so, but because American will power and ingenuity stepped up in times of need to make this country great.

Have faith in the promise of America.

If you would like to see Mitt Romney’s speech which was quoted in this video, in its entirety, click this link. Also, for more People v. Ignorance content, follow me on Twitter and be sure to check out the all new Facebook Page

A Better America Begins Tonight

Video

This speech came as Mitt Romney swept 5 state primaries on April 24. Though it has been clear for a couple of weeks now, this speech marks Romney’s commencement of the General Election against Barack H. Obama.

I sat in awe as and even smiled to myself as I listened to this speech. I just look at Mitt Romney and can’t help but think, “Wow, this guy can actually do it. He can become the President of the United States and put us back on course to prosperity.” And I think he will. Romney makes a great point when he mentions that Obama doesn’t really have a record to run off of. Are you better off than you were 3 years ago? What has that extra 6 trillion in debt done for you? Romney get’s it. Romney understands the economy. He understands what the American dream truly is and he’s bringing it back to us.

The next few months are not going to be pretty. You can count on mud being thrown by both sides until election day in November. People are going to say things they regret. Candidates will be o so delicately placing their foot in their mouths on multiple occasions. It’s going to get messy. But I firmly believe that Romney will come out on top. He has the winning message and Obama has the failing record.

The general election begins tonight but more importantly, “A Better America Begins Tonight”