Mitt and humanity

The new Netflix documentary about Mitt Romney, Mitt, is a good reminder of what Obama said back in 2004 when he electrified the country at the Democratic National Convention: that there is no red or blue America, but the United States of America.

The documentary mostly stays away from politics, focusing on Mitt the man, and on his family, as they go through the hard experience of two presidential campaigns. Still, there was enough there to remind me why I voted against Mitt Romney: his comment about the 47 percent of Americans who are takers, his sense that Democrats simply don’t understand how hard it is to start a business, his sincere belief that we’re headed off a tax-and-spend cliff that will destroy America, his willingness to chase the president on Benghazi and other non-issues to try to win points.

What stands out strongly, though, is that Mitt Romney, his family and his supporters are fundamentally good people who wish America well. I don’t know if that’s true of everyone in the Republican party, but it seems to be true of the Romneys. There’s a moment on election day when the campaign plane lands, and they look out the window to see that a nearby parking garage is packed with people. I thought to myself, How can all those people be so wrong? They want Mitt to win as much as I wanted Obama to win, maybe more. And they’re right about some things. They’re probably right that small businesses get taxed too much. If their whole campaign had been about how to lower taxes on small businesses, instead of all the things it became about, they might have done better.

No matter our politics, we do need to remember that those people are human beings who worry about their country, their futures, their families. They disagree with me, and I think I’m right and they’re wrong about a number of things, but they deserve respect. Democrats shouldn’t make the mistake Mitt Romney did in writing off 47 percent of this country as racist, anti-gay, gun-toting, Obama-hating, or anything else. We shouldn’t write off 1 percent of this country as callous plutocrats. Writing off human beings is easy and dangerous.