I first became aware of Mitt Romney in the winter of 2007 when he announced his candidacy for the presidency at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. I was attending classes at the University of Michigan-Dearborn which shares a property line where Mitt announced. I was so pumped that a politician in Washington cared enough about Michigan to announce right here that I did a bunch of research on him as soon as I was done with the day’s classes.
At the time, Michigan was in the midst of what we called a one-state recession (the one the entire country eventually entered), and I was sick of policies in Washington hurting Michigan instead of helping or at the very least, just leaving us alone. After I saw Mitt’s speech, I started looking into his past feverishly. I loved everything I saw except for one thing. Mitt is a Mormon. I kept trying to find anything about his policies or his history that I didn’t like, but the only major thing I could find was his religion. Over the next seven months, I supported both Mitt and Mike Huckabee.
It took me those seven months to come to certain realizations.
1. George Romney was a fantastic Governor in Michigan, and his Mormonism didn’t hurt the state in any way.
2. Mitt seems to care more about family values than any other candidate, and it was very refreshing to hear Mitt say quotes like “America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home.” while many of the other candidates had pasts filled with infidelity/neglect.
3. Mitt’s close relationship with some of the religious people I respect most like Dr. James Dobson and Rick Santorum caused me to open my mind to the possibility that a Mormon candidate can be trusted and supported.
4. Mike Huckabee didn’t answer a few questions during some of the summer debates to my satisfaction.
5. Mike Huckabee never built a ground game or political infrastructure which made me suspicious of his motives. I also could never get out of my head the fact that the Huckabee campaign made promises to its supporters during an event called Vertical Politics Day that it didn’t keep. It’s a small example, but it epitomized Gov. Huckabee’s inability to lead to me.
6. I wanted to stop Rudy or McCain from getting the nomination because I didn’t trust either of them to care about the social issues that I cared about.
7. The more and more I found out about Mitt’s history with turning things around, the more I coveted living in an America with him at the helm.
8. I finally made my decision after months of prayer (and consultation with people I respect) while reading a familiar passage in the Bible about when Jesus was asked about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus’ response hit me in a way it hadn’t before about how Jesus never seemed to get involved in politics. If I only focused on finding the candidate that championed the causes I cared about, Mitt stood far and away above the pack. My relationship with Jesus Christ will always be the most important thing in my life. His example has led me to where I am today. As soon as I started looking for a president instead of a pastor-in-chief, I had complete peace and began working full-tilt to support Gov. Romney.
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