On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight. - The Boy Scout Oath
The cover of my latest National Review says "Own It Mitt." The 'it' is your wealth, and the counsel is to embrace it, flaunt it, brag about it, hold it up as a model to which others might aspire. You are an American success story, Mitt. Your story is the country's story of entrepeneurship and individual initiative. You are a capitalist but, more than that, a capitalist who cares. You are the opposite of "you didn't build that" and other socialist sentiments emanating from certain quarters. So own it. It can be made to work to your advantage and presents to the electorate the stark choice before them: shall we embark upon the march to the collectivist's paradise, or return to the principle of individual liberty and responsibility that made our country great?
All of which may be true and none of which particularly bothers me. I should mention, however, that I have received 3 mailings from your campaign in the space of two weeks. In a couple of them you seem to have heard of me, because they are addressed to William. Kind of flattering. You even included a semi-glossy photo of you and your wife, whom I like better but whose name I can't remember. Included in all three, inevitably, is a request for money. Now I'm afraid you only love me for my money. But, having heard rumors that you are worth in excess of 200 million dollars, I have asked before, and will ask again: in which direction do you really think the money ought to be flowing? I have to mow my own lawn. I'm willing to bet 200 million dollars that you don't mow yours. And that's only the first item in a very long list.
But don't get me wrong; I don't hold it against you. In fact, good for you. Keep hauling in the dough and I don't even care if some of it is squirreled away in offshore accounts. Considering the federal behemoth's appetite for money it hasn't earned, I'd do the same. And don't think for a minute I believe any of the wicked lies the Obama campaign is spreading about you: that you want to destroy medicare (no one expects you to commit political suicide); that you haven't paid any taxes for a number of years; that you're the friend of Wall Street and the enemy of the middle class. I'm also fairly certain that you really believe Obamacare is bad for the country but Romneycare good for Massachusetts, that the latter is defensible and the former is not. I'm not sure how that argument goes exactly, but I can find room for the federalist case. It's okay to make someone buy something he doesn't want statewide but not nationwide. I'll work it out in my spare time. Nor do I pay heed to those partisan political hacks who call you a flip-flopper on abortion. You are a flip-flopper but you're my kind of flip-flopper and I love conversion stories. You are a genuine example of someone possessed of sufficient humility to admit that he was wrong. You even say on your website that "Taking innocent life is always wrong," and that includes saying 'no' to embryonic stem cell research. Good for you. Some prolife politicians miss that connection.
When I saw that you're in favor of a federal marriage amendment, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Thinking what bliss it was to be alive at this time, I visited a friend's website with the intention of convincing him that this election was of sufficient importance that he ought to break his usual practice of not voting for the less evil of two "lizards"," as he likes to put it. (Trust me, I don't think of you that way.) He's on a sort of voting fast; hasn't participated since Bush/Clinton, and thinks the act of voting a mere perpetuation of a liberal dispensation he despises. In his words, it's a "quasi-sacramental act of personal allegiance to liberalism," and further believes that "universal suffrage is itself the lex orandi to liberalism’s lex credendi" (hope you're familiar with those terms). It's a little more complicated than I've presented, but I think you get the picture.
Anyway, just as I thought I might be making some progress with him, he decides he's not going to play fair anymore - by doing some research to prove that you might have some lizard in you - and comes up with this. It's a link to a news story in which I discovered that the man I was going to vote for, the man who stood before a roaring crowd at Liberty University to reaffirm that marriage is indeed between one man and one woman, is also in favor of allowing gay boys and men into the Scouts. The Boy Scouts. As Scouts and Scoutmasters. You can imagine my dismay. In fact, my initial reaction was ARE YOU SERIOUS? THE BOY SCOUTS? I calmed down pretty quickly but, I mean, the BOY Scouts? By 'gay' I assume you mean openly gay. If the scout or scoutmaster does not announce it, how will anyone know he's gay? And if no one knows, what's the point in saying that we admit gays? I could see how the gay scoutmaster might confess it to whoever hires him, and then it would remain between the two of them, kept secret from the scouts. But again, if it's going to be a secret anyway, what's the point? Will this be true also of the scouts themselves? You have to be at least 10 to get in and under 17. I figure most applicants are in the 10-12 age range. Picture the new gay scoutmaster's first meeting with his troop. He stands before them and says, "Hi, I'm Fred, your new scoutmaster. And I'm gay."
REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
All right, I'm back to normal. Listen, Mr. Traditional Marriage candidate, the ethics of Christian sexual morality center entirely around marriage; that ethic claims that use of our sexual faculties is appropriate only to marriage, that marriage has an exclusive claim in this area. You must believe this. You're Mormon (don't worry, I'm not going there). Do you not see the disconnect in advocating for traditional sexual virtue and openly gay scoutmasters at the same time? When the gay scoutmaster (I assume that he must pledge fidelity to the same oath) swears on his honor to keep himself "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight," what does he mean by morally straight? More importantly, what do you mean by it? Because I don't think he and you will mean the same thing.
Ah well. Until and unless you renounce this position, you've lost my vote. My aforementioned friend - the one who is the enemy of all lizards - will merely say 'I told you so.' Another friend at work is going to call me a Purist. I will answer, "Hell yes. I'm tired of taking one step forward and two back." Then he'll say, "You might as well vote for Obama, because a vote for no one is a vote for him." And I'll say, "A vote for no one is a vote for no one. It'll be as if I didn't exist. I'll amount to a mathematical zero." And he'll say, "The future of our country is at stake, and you don't care what happens to it."
Ah, but I do. To echo your position on abortion - that "it's always wrong to take innocent life" - do you likewise believe that it's always wrong to have sex outside of marriage, of whatever kind? If so, square that for me with your support of open gayness in an organization that has always supported your own understanding (and your Church's, by the way) of right sexual conduct. I won't vote for a man who wraps himself in the mantle of Christian morality, but doesn't believe that it's made of wholecloth. The unraveling will only continue.