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Optimistic message from a man of character

Normally, I keep my political thoughts pretty much to myself.

But, for those who really know me (meaning I have shared political discussions with them), they know I have always been a Mitt Romney guy.

Intrigued by his ties to Michigan, his success in business and organization, and the political stands he takes, I have been a Romney supporter.

Romney never has disappointed me. I find that, in a swamp of insanity and deceit, Romney most often is the voice of reason and common sense.

Recently, Romney was one of several people interviewed for the January/February issue of the Deseret Magazine, part of the Deseret News. I want to share liberally from his interview, which occurred before the recent violent riot in Washington, as I believe he addresses all that is wrong in American politics today.

And I want to commend the staff there for sharing this piece with their readers.

I understand not everyone is a fan of Romney. That is OK, and I appreciate your reasoning. Regardless of his politics, however, Romney in this essay addresses dealing with America’s “social sickness,” and I believe that is something we all could benefit from by reading.

Romney points to the recession of 2008 as the start of the change in people’s social interactions. Coming out of the recession, he said, instead of encouraging one another, as we have done in the past, people looked to place blame and make scapegoats.

At the same time that was taking place, Romney believes, traditional institutions that enhance mutual understanding — such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts — were declining. Cell phone use became more prevalent as people’s face-to-face interactions became less and less.

Remember the days of Walter Cronkite? Romney does, and points to Cronkite as a respected journalist that every American could trust. Fat chance of that happening today with any television commentator, whom Romney said too often focus on pandering to their target bases.

At the same time that was happening, Romney said, a cruel reality was occurring in the U.S., and that was that many communities lost their hometown newspapers. Suddenly, many regions of the country became news deserts, with no unbiased source of news from which to draw information.

And politics became more personal in their attacks, more vile, and more unfiltered.

“Politicians’ language is more vulgar, bullying and offensive,” Romney writes. “Reagan, Eisenhower and Kennedy would not recognize today’s political discourse.”

There is hope.

Romney said first, it is going to take men and women of character to lead. Forget the politics of the person, he suggested, and instead focus on the principles they promote and the character they exemplify each day.

“Would we rather have our ‘side’ win to punish the ‘other side’ or would we rather have our nation united?” he asks.

It is a great question.

Second, he said each of us plays a role in this. We need to be more understanding, more quick to show grace, and we need to promote healing. Gone should be the days of bullying and treating others with disrespect.

He urged all of us to not depend on one source for information, but instead gather information from many different perspectives. And he warned about the perils of social media sources, where there are “no fact checkers, no editors and often it doesn’t even disclose who actually wrote a post.”

Finally, he concluded that we need more faith, more love of one another, and more respect for all people.

To me, that sounds like a recipe for success.

I want to be optimistic.

I hope you do, as well.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.

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