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The morality of Mitt

Leila Green | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The vast differences between each presidential candidate’s life journey strongly influences the ways in which they decide to lead and steer our country. The manner in which President Obama or Mitt Romney will run this country is highly dependent upon various factors, one of the most important being each man’s moral compass.
President Obama, with roots in community organizing and law, grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia in a middle-class family as a minority. Meanwhile, Romney is privileged and was raised in an affluent family and had a career in business before becoming Governor of Massachusetts in 2003.
Consequently, President Obama and Mitt Romney hold vastly different worldviews ­- worldviews that strongly impact the way that they view the citizens of this country and the world. Similarly, each man’s position in society influenced his respective moral code.
Being a part of the privileged, upper class has undoubtedly impacted Romney’s bid for presidency, as the average American does not earn approximately $250 million. His massive wealth disconnects him from the reality of American citizens in the poor and middle class. His crafted tales of alleged struggle are key indicators of his blindness to the often-grim realities of those that are not prosperous.
Romney maintains a sincere belief in an American Dream that is not completely attainable by all Americans. We are not all born on equal socioeconomic footing from which to pursue this “dream” and he ignores this.
Mitt Romney’s potential policies and current ideology on issues like women’s rights, education, immigration and the economy indicate a lack of compassion and disregard for struggling Americans. This is an ethical failure. He lacks the morals that the leader of a diverse, complex country must have. The President is not the Pope, but he does need the character and ethics to view our country through a lens of compassion and recognize the marginalized and disadvantaged.
His campaign champions creating jobs for Americans and supporting small businesses. Given his inconsistencies and flip-flopping on essential issues like equal pay for women, contraception rights and education, can we really believe this? When viewed through a moral lens, Romney’s continuous dishonesty and lack of true conviction points to a lack of rooted principles and moral consciousness. Before Romney lessens our country’s deficit, he must relieve his own moral deficiency.
We cannot fault Mitt Romney for being born into a wealthy family and we cannot fault his business savvy. Being rich does not automatically diagnose you as morally bankrupt, the same way that being poor does not inevitably indicate laziness. However, we can fault Mitt Romney for his lack of compassion for less-fortunate individuals. Need I mention the 47 percent?
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s disregard for the poor, education, women, immigrants and global citizenship is a moral issue. Unless you are a wealthy, white male, Mitt Romney does not hold your interests at stake. If Mitt Romney is elected, he will have to learn the hard way that what worked for him and people like him does not work for all Americans. He must value the interests of all Americans, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, creed, sexuality or legal status.
Furthermore, U.S. Catholic Bishops and Catholic nuns have sharply rebuked Paul Ryan’s proposed House Republican budget that includes cuts to hunger and nutrition programs that aid poor and working-class Americans. The Bishops called these proposed cuts “unacceptable,” “unjustified” and “wrong.” The Catholic sisters participating on a tour to protest Ryan’s budget, Nuns on the Bus, say on their website:
“We cannot stand by silently when the U.S. Congress considers further enriching the wealthiest Americans at the expense of struggling, impoverished families.”
While Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have found relative success in other arenas, they are not qualified to lead this country because they are unsympathetic toward the struggle of real Americans. Obama is by no means perfect. However, his accurate understanding of the poor and marginalized and of minorities is what makes him a qualified leader for our complex country and is due to his character, experiences and upbringing in the middle class.
Neither the trickle-down economic approach nor the trickle-down presidential approach will work. We do not need a president who is too disconnected, too privileged and too untethered from the American reality to adequately lead our country. President Obama insists helping the poor and supporting the middle class is going to move our country forward. He is right. As Mahatma Gandhi said:
“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men.” In order to win the election, Mitt Romney is going to have to work for all men – and all women. We need an approach that recognizes the dignity of all Americans and all humans. We need Barack Obama for president.

Leila Green can be reached at lgreen2@nd.edu
    The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.