Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ready to get Romney-fied?

Until today, the total body of my knowledge about Mitt Romney was made up of these 2 facts: 1) He is the former (one-term) governor of the state of Massachusetts, and 2) He is a Mormon. Now, thanks to the LA Times, I know one other thing: he's running to become the 44th president of the United States of America.

Ok, that's not quite all: Romney, like a certain African-American Democratic candidate we know, has already figured out that he's duty-bound to talk about how Washington can't be changed by "insiders", if his campaign is going to have any chance at viability. This may be true, but for some reason I have the feeling that Republicans --with all their staid, stay-the-course logic--will be less likely than the free-wheeling Dems to accept the argument that experience doesn't matter...making Romney's path to the nomination that much more difficult.

And then there's this: is America ready for a Mormon president? Should I be scared by the fact that one longstanding belief of the Mormon church is/was that Blacks were "cursed" and children of the devil" and could, therefore, not hold positions of priesthood in the LDS church? I know from reading "Under the Banner of Heaven ", Jon Krakauer's compelling portrait of extreme Mormonism, that BYU recently elected its first black Saint to the presidency of the student body--but I can't say that quite quells my worries.

What's clear is that this race--a black man, a white woman, and a Mormon, so far-- will be a great referendum on just how tolerant the United States has really become. Whoever is left standing at the end of this one will certainly offer an important lesson on our progress as a nation--or lack thereof.

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