Politics 183



Leaked Romney Video Goes Viral

A perfectly-timed YouTube upload is currently going viral. It shows Mitt Romney during a commercial break going off about his Mormon faith. Despite having just been uploaded, the interview is actually from 2007. Before I go into my opinions on this craziness, you should watch this video in its entirety. If I had to sum up the effect this thing will have on the Romney campaign in one word, it would be “crippling.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxMD02zU9SE]

All done? Okay, let’s get started.

From a political view, this is extremely detrimental to the Romney campaign. In the wake of the 47% soundbite and the inability for Romney to gain traction during Hurricane Sandy, this could be the final nail in the Romney coffin.

But before we go crazy on this guy, let’s clear some things up.

  • The clip does not show what happened prior to the commercial break. I have to give the man the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was being grilled by the host and was responding in a natural, albeit over-the-top, manner.
  • I’ve never been a Richard Dawkins fan (I prefer the late Christopher Hitchens when it comes to renowned atheists), but I have to agree with his tweet: “Listen in the longer clip to not only what Romney says, but HOW he says it. Wow.” That was a retweet, but I’m fairly certain Dawkins agrees with the sentiment.
  • We cannot fault the man too much for being passionate about something, especially when one of his main criticisms is that he appears lifeless and robotic.

Okay, disclaimers are officially out of the way. Now, what does this video really mean? Are we mad that a man has a passionate belief about something deeply personal, and deeply important to him? Are we appalled by his religion? Are we disgusted by his demeanor, his pro-life stance, or is it the way he seems so ridiculously defensive?

For me, as a pro-life individual, I agree with a certain amount of what he is saying. The problem is, as mentioned above, how he says it. I am very, very interested in religion. I am a somewhat religious person, and it fascinates me when religion and politics or religion and science come to a crossroads. What I see in this video is a passionate response, but that alone is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, religious passion, or zeal, is oftentimes a very good thing. It can lead people to feed the poor, donate to good causes, or put others above themselves. But all of these things take place because of a passion for what this world could be. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a zeal that seeks to uphold the status quo. There is a zeal that is more concerned with the past, and is dreadfully afraid of what could happen in a changing world. 

Mitt Romney should be passionate about his faith, but this is a defensive passion. When Mitt Romney is accosting another individual and acting like a victim, as he does in this video, it is my opinion that he is seeing his religion’s own faults reflected back at him. One of the most important aspects of religion is self-criticism, and Mitt Romney doesn’t, or at least didn’t, seem to understand that. If Mormonism is true, which I don’t believe it is, then Mormons should be welcoming doubt, criticism, and analysis.

Interestingly, Mitt Romney seems to mirror the Republican Party’s own inability to see its problems. When the Republican Party is confronted with a changing culture, it cannot adapt. And as much as Republicans might hate the theory of evolution, not being able to adapt means you will die.

For what it’s worth, being welcoming of criticism is difficult for everyone. No one person is perfect. No political party is perfect. No religion is perfect. And it seems to me that the only real danger in not being perfect is thinking that you are. You see this human flaw when you look at failing relationships. Often one person will lash out at another when confronted with their own faults. The workplace is also filled with passionate people who’ve yet to learn how to truly look in the mirror.

The bottom line here is that Mitt Romney lost his cool. We’ve all done it. The difference is that we’re not running for president. That said, if the one man who can get this country out of its economical quagmire is Muslim, Mormon, or believes that Jim Henson was a prophet, then so be it. I don’t need to agree with my President on Sunday mornings. I only need to agree with him during the job I hired him to do.

Question: What was your initial reaction to this video?