Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh What A... next Tuesday will be!  Hahaha - I'm sorry, but I have to post at least once about this historic election year. It is such a close race! I follow political articles on CNN and see plenty of opinions on Facebook, and I watched the majority of the debates. I've researched the candidates just like I did in 2008. I am still registered as an independent voter and would like to consider myself an open minded person. Even though I live in a state that will most likely always vote Republican, I still go and vote for the candidate that will meet my needs the best at my current point in life.

 I'm sure there aren't really any "undecided voters" out there at this point, But I would just like to share the following. One of the gentleman that I met serving as a missionary in Japan posted this on Facebook tonight, it is direct words from his dad. I hope you take the time to read it.

"I am not the most avid FB user, and I know and respect the fact that our FB friends include people from all walks of life and a variety of political perspectives. So, other than sharing a link to Pam's speech in Tampa (and occasional responses to posts on other people's walls), I have generally avoided posting political opinions here.

Whatever our various personal political perspe
ctives might be, I hope that my FB friends know our family to be committed to trying our best to do the right things as we see them. We have been grateful for your kindness as we have both celebrated some joy and success in our lives, and as we have struggled with some very difficult things. None of us is perfect, we can only strive with sincerity to live up to our most noble beliefs and aspirations -- and when we fall short, pick ourselves up and try again harder. I appreciate your example, friendship and encouragement as we work through the challenges of life together.

Everyone has access to lots of information, and at this point most of us have pretty settled opinions about the presidential candidates. I respect that, and won't try to persuade anyone that they are on the wrong side or should change their political beliefs.

In this election, however, Pam and I are in the unusual position of having known one of the candidates for over 30 years. Mitt and Ann Romney were role models and friends to us when we were grad students in Boston so many years ago. This was a tender time in our lives when we were each raising young families -- they are 8-10 years older than we are, but our oldest (Peter) and their youngest (Craigy) were still in diapers at the time. We came to know the Romneys well. We spent hundreds of hours in their home, took care of each others children, shared with each other in private joys and sorrows, dreams and disappointments, hopes and aspirations. We saw Mitt devote literally dozens of hours each week, through his role as a lay leader in our church, to befriending and counseling and helping those who were lonely or in need -- in ways large and small. They taught and actively involved their boys in daily acts of service and kindness to others; that is simply who they are and the way they live.

Pam's speech at the RNC shared our personal story about how we experienced the Romney's tender kindness through the life of our daughter Kate -- from the initial struggles around her premature birth, to the sorrow of her passing 26 years later. (If you have not seen it yet, see a link in my post below.) There are hundreds if not thousands of other families who have experienced similar kindnesses in a myriad ways.

Regardless of political perspectives, I want each of our friends to know that these are among the finest, most hardworking, and most generously kind people we have known. While we understand that political campaigns are by nature contentious, it has been painful to us on occasion when commentary has become personal and suggested that Mitt does not care about those who are suffering, or seeks office to benefit himself and other "rich people," and that he must be "lying" if he says otherwise. We know these claims are completely false. This is a deeply good man, who has spent an extraordinary amount of his time and resources trying earnestly to help others. When a partisan commentator stated the other day that the Romney campaign was "pretending to care" when it dedicated what was originally going to be a campaign event instead to a relief effort assembling food packages to send to families that had been displaced by the storm, that was wrong. That was classic Mitt Romney -- see a need, and immediately roll up his sleeves to try to help both through his own personal effort, and by organizing and encouraging others. It is second nature to him -- that is how he was raised, and how he has raised his own family.

Personal character is of course just one factor in a decision whether to support a candidate. You may sincerely believe that the policies advocated by Pres. Obama are the best ones for the country -- that our government should become bigger, raise more taxes, spend them on expanding government programs, and adopt more regulations to make the government a bigger part of our lives and play a bigger role in subsidizing, guiding and controlling private business. If that is the case, then (while I disagree), I respect your right to vote according to your political beliefs and conscience.

However, it is my hope that NONE of my friends will give any weight to false caricatures of Mitt Romney as a bad man who does not wish to do anything to help those in need -- that all he cares about is rich people, and that his policies are in fact secretly intended to keep the poor in their place and make the rich richer. Any such suggestion is outrageously false. This is a deeply good man, who sincerely desires to re-invigorate the American economy, providing all Americans access to better jobs, more take-home pay, and a future bright with greater opportunities for themselves and their families -- while keeping faith with our seniors, veterans, and others who rely on Social Security, Medicare and help getting back on their feet after suffering dislocation. We can agree or disagree whether the Romney-Ryan policies are the best way to produce these results, but Mitt passionately believes they are. To vilify this good man as insincere or ill-intentioned is simply wrong.

The very best of luck to you. I trust you will join us in hoping for a smooth and fair election in which the voters make their decision clear, so that we can move forward to greater peace and opportunity for all."

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