What I Wish Mitt Romney Would Say

By now, everyone in the universe is either talking about Mitt Romney or that very weird mom who not only still nurses her 3-year son but is thoughtful enough to give him his own TIME cover as a keepsake.  It’ll look great on his college wall.  I’m going to get to nursing mom but right now I’m stuck on Mitt.

Mitt’s dad, George Romney, was governor of Michigan when I lived there.  He was a smart, aggressive guy and a progressive Republican.  He was Mormon but nobody seemed to care.  He ran a car company – American Motors – and that gave him a lot of currency in my home state.  We loved cars and the people who made them.  So, I liked George and not because my husband thinks I’m a closet Republican.  He was a decent guy, an ethical guy. Rich, but he earned it.

So when his son became governor of Massachusetts and when he created a system of almost universal health care in that state, I thought, well, there’s George’s son. Republican, practical, able to get tough things done.  And then he started running for President and it was all about his hair and his white shirt and the ever-pressed jeans and his constant ‘hey there guys and dolls’ fake demeanor in front of live audiences and completely disowning the innovative Massachusetts health care plan.  My eyes couldn’t stop rolling.

Then this.  The news that he’d chased a kid around Cranbrook (which was THE elite place on my little earth when I was growing up outside Detroit), held him to the ground and CUT OFF his hair, the motivation being so clearly his determination that the kid was gay and therefore fair game.

An adolescent prank, he says, can’t really remember it.  Sorry if I upset someone.  You know how kids are.


This is what I wish he’d say.  This is what I think his father would say (although his father would never have done anything like this).

“It was a terrible thing that I did.  I don’t have a good explanation for why I did it.  It was wrong.  I hurt someone and I’m so sorry.  I’ve been thinking about it for years and wondering why I did it and how I could make it right.  But I just never knew what to do.  I’ve resolved since then to be a kind person and to live out the tenets of my religion to be an honorable man.”

If he had said this, if he had owned what he did and shown remorse and not hid behind his ridiculous hair and white shirt and pressed jeans, I would have forgiven him.  I still wouldn’t vote for him, but I’d forgive him.

People can be awful.  They can do awful things.  They can feel guilt and resolve to do right in the future.  I believe that. I wish Mitt did.

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