Don Miller Commentary: The Reasons I Won’t Use to Not Vote for Mitt Romney
Tonight, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney will face each other in the second of three presidential debates and it is just a little over three weeks until what people have dubbed “the most important election of our time.” I must admit throughout this process, I’ve thought about voting for a third-party candidate, I’ve considered President Obama, thought seriously about Mitt Romney, thought about not voting at all (but then I wouldn’t be able to comment and those of you who know me, know I couldn’t spend the next four years quieted) and ultimately I thought writing in my 12-year-old son’s name on the ballot may be the best decision for me. I’m not sold on voting for “the lesser of two evils” because at the end of the day, evil is still evil, right?! That being said, I gave some serious thought to the mainstream candidates this weekend and want to share with all of you, “What reasons I won’t use to NOT vote for Mitt Romney.” I am closer to a decision, but not closed to a decision. I will not vote one way just because I am a registered Republican. That would be too easy of an answer for you, my friends, followers and listeners and quite truthfully, a cop-out. I’m not that guy. I suspect that on the heels of actress, Stacy Dash, being called “Aunt Jemima” and other colorful misnomers, some of you will call me an “Uncle Tom.” Guess what? I’ve been called that before, so try harder and educate yourselves on the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe. I sincerely hope that you will instead, consider my position and observations and recognize that you do have a choice.
At this juncture, 0%, I repeat 0% of the Black vote belongs to Mitt Romney. Why do we dislike this man so? Is it because he is “rich”? Is it because of The Church of The Latter Day Saint’s abhorrent policy regarding Blacks? Is it because of the now infamous 47% percent comment?
Okay, yeah, he’s rich…filthy rich. Does that somehow automatically mean that he cannot be the leader of the free world? Rich is subjective. I come from a place where folks believe rich is rich, whether you have $1M or $250M, you are rich. I now know that there is a huge difference between a “little” rich and a “whole ‘lotta” rich. Through my unsolicited, unwarranted and most times, unwanted observations, I will tell you that I’ve seen more apathy from the “little” rich guys. Contrary to what many believe, it’s easier to give freely and dole out aid, when you aren’t worried about this being your last million. I’m not going to discount the rich guy for just being the rich guy. Perhaps a few of our Presidents came from humble beginnings, but we have to go back to the 1800s to find a “less than millionaire” having walked the halls of The White House. Being rich is not an admission of detachment, void of character and spirit in my book. Certainly, his inheritance propelled him, but you must have some business sense to keep your fortune afloat. In these tough times, I just may want the guy who’s been successful in business.
Yes, yes and yes, Mitt Romney is a member of the LDS, who prior to 1978 banned men of African descent from its priesthood and believed that blacks were the cursed descendants of Cain. This was wrong. There is no getting around the reprehension of this. However, aren’t most of us, who were raised in the South, born of fan wielding, hymn singing Ma’s and Big Ma’s, members of Southern Baptist churches whose roots owned us and then converted us? Come on, Christianity explained away Slavery! The Southern Baptist church was also the foundation for many of the members of The Ku Klux Klan. Many parishioners would sing Swing Lo during a Sunday morning service and then watch as Black folk swung lo from trees later that night. Religion is a template. Spirituality is how you personally manifest your walk. Religious organizations evolve and unfortunately, some evolve at a more rapid pace than others. Mitt Romney’s own father, Governor George Romney, when asked about the Mormon doctrine regarding Black people responded by offering to show what he had done as part of The Civil Rights Movement. That doctrine may have cost Governor Romney the election, but how long and how much should an antiquated piece of religious creed cost the worshipper? Isn’t it possible that Mitt Romney’s own spirituality and walk trumps a religious doctrine that by his own admission, he was anxious to see changed? Should we castigate the Muslim for their forbearers’ belief in honor killings or should the African be forever punished because his great-grandfather believed in genital mutilation?
THE 47% GAFFE. During the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan emitted a hearty laugh from the audience as he chided Vice President Biden for his infamous gaffes. Ryan said, “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” to which Vice President Biden responded, “But I always say what I mean.” In the words of Sarah Palin, “say it ain’t so, Joe.” Do you really? Does the president? Are your gaffes any less serious than Mitt Romney’s? Mitt Romney was in a room full of big money donors to which his point mattered. Could he have said it differently? Hell yes. Is there some truth to it? Hell yes. Mitt Romney did not mean our elderly and he did not mean our service people. He was referring to a mindset, a segment of the population that is generationally poor. Come on, we too know these people. There are too many iPhones, camera phones, video phones, iPads and other smart devices out there for candidates not to be smart. If you think for one second, The President hasn’t pandered to a certain segment of donors or tailored his message for a particular audience, you are wrong. Why wasn’t President Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus’ Awards dinner this year? Was he too busy campaigning? Or was it because last year he instructed Black folk to “Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying…” If we subscribe to Joe Biden’s admonishment of last Wednesday night, he meant that. Um, Joe…did you say what you mean when you said that, “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.” Or when you said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” How about when the president said, “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion,” or when Mr. President indicted the entire Cambridge police department for acting “stupidly” in the Skip Gates debacle. Gaffes are just that –gaffes. Is there some truth and some underlying feeling in the remarks? Probably so. Let’s be fair though. If we are to hold Mitt Romney over the fire endlessly for the 47% comment, then we must trust that the President and Vice President Biden always say what they mean…in every instance.
The jury is out on who I will vote for. I sincerely wish I had two people for which I could enthusiastically cast my vote because of a myriad of reasons they fit the bill. I mean, say what you want about Bill Clinton, but I and many people (including many fellow Republicans) would run to the polls to vote for him if given the chance. I want that feeling! Instead, I am faced with the candidates in front of me and all the reasons I shouldn’t vote for them. For now, however, I have found reasons that I will not use to disqualify Mitt Romney.
by Don Miller, former host of The Don Miller Radio Show