Saturday, October 20, 2012

5th Saturday of Seven

There once was a campaign run on the idea of free handouts. It was mine. For my speech at the campaign assembly, I shared several reasons why you should vote for me which all related back to candy bars, and then the candy was tossed into the crowd ("your vote for me will make this the best school in the Milky Way!"). And while I had a few reasons for running, like being a positive example to my peers and being involved in school events, one in particular was very appealing: the Longhorn sweater with my name on it.

You may laugh at my bangs for three seconds. Okay. That's enough.
Yes, we were the orange and black Longhorns. At night during campaign season as I lie in bed, I would envision wearing the sweater on game days and assembly days, sometimes as a jacket, sometimes around my waist, sometimes out in public so people would see me and say, "She must be a class officer at her school." Kind of shallow, I know.

I was reading 1 Kings in the Bible a few months ago and found a verse that describes a truer and nobler form of leadership. Rehoboam has just replaced his father Solomon as king and seeks counsel from the elders as to how to run the kingdom. This was their answer: a servant unto this people this day...
1 Kings 12:7

Unfortunately, Rehoboam didn't like that answer. Instead he counseled with his friends, who suggested he impose greater burdens on the people. Sadly, to his detriment and the kingdom's, he followed the advice of the young men.  "Whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."

Fortunately in the United States of America, we have a choice.
It is my belief that Mitt Romney is not running for president to serve his personal interest.
 I really believe that. I believe that he is a man of good character. My last two posts have discussed why I think he's qualified for the job and this one will discuss why I think we have an extraordinary choice before us: a man who will use his qualifications for the right reason, which is to serve the people of the United States of America.

Serving others is part of who Mitt Romney is. His record indicates that. I have made it clear that I am not voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. But because he and I have that in common, it does give me an interesting perspective.

Mitt Romney served as a Mormon missionary. I am not familiar with the particular details of Mitt Romney's mission other than that he served in France, but my dad and my husband served missions (Australia and Orlando, Florida), and my sister-in-law just left to serve in Guatemala this very week.

Hugging her sister goodbye as my sister-in-law embarks on her 18 month mission

Here's what I can tell you about missionaries. They leave their home sometime in their late teens to early twenties to serve the Lord and the people of the area to which they are called. They are gone for 18 months (women) to two years (men). They put college and career plans on hold. They pay their own way. If they serve for the right reasons, they come back better, more selfless people having had an experience that will positively influence the rest of their lives. How could it not? I am going to assume that Mitt Romney's case was no different.  

Mitt Romney, like active members of his faith, also served the children, youth and adults of his congregation. He later served as a stake president, as did my grandfather. As a granddaughter I witnessed the magnitude of responsibility associated with that particular calling. Here is a Wikipedia summary of Mitt Romney's leadership roles in the Mormon faith:

From 1986 to 1994, Romney presided over the Boston Stake, which included more than a dozen wards in eastern Massachusetts with almost 4,000 church members altogether. An unpaid position, his local church leadership often took 30 or more hours a week of his time, and he became known for his considerable energy in the role,
A number of local church members later credited him with turning their lives around or helping them through difficult times. Romney later said that the years spent as an LDS minister gave him direct exposure to people struggling financially and empathy for those with family problems.
  [Wikipedia, "Mitt Romney: Local LDS Leadership", abridged]

Examples of church service have dominated this blog post because of my Mormon perspective, but Mitt Romney's desire to serve extends beyond his faith. Of his decision to run the Olympic Games of 2002, Mitt Romney said, "Ann and I felt it was the right thing to do....It was the spirit of public service that attracted me." When the Olympics were over, he donated the severance pay he earned for his work to charity.

This well-written blog post has a compilation of other good works done by Mitt Romney. I love author's last paragraph: "You may choose to dislike Romney’s politics, his policies, his ham-handed speeches. But what a better country we would have if half the people attacking him now could compile half of the list above."

One thing that strikes me about these stories being told is that Mitt Romney is not telling them himself. Other people are telling them for him. That tells me he did these acts of service not for recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. Personally, it all makes me want to be a better person, a sentiment I'm not used to feeling when dealing in politics. What a quality for a president to possess.

Is it time to vote YET?!

Unlike King Rehoboam from the Bible, I believe if Mitt Romney is elected the next president of our country, he would view himself as "a servant unto [the] people." Unlike the people of King Rehoboam's kingdom, we as the American people have the choice in whom we will vote for. Use it wisely.

Taking part in a nobler campaign than the one I ran in 1998.
I will continue to post a reason I am voting for Mitt Romney each Saturday until the election. If you don't agree with me, that's okay. I've actually had some really good conversations with people through the course of this project whose opinions differ from mine but who I respect immensely.

However, if you feel like it's the right thing to do, please help me extend my reach by sharing these posts through email, Facebook and Pinterest. Thank you!

P.S. There is a presidential debate this Monday. Watch it. More information here

P.S.#2. This video is worth your time.

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