Throughout America’s relatively short history, men and women of character have arisen at every critical juncture; people who shepherded us onto the high ground, led us to victory in battle, and gave voice to lofty and noble visions. These leaders perhaps appeared rather ordinary at first glance, but over time distinguished themselves and rose above other voices, supported by indefatigable moral and principled convictions.
Over the past couple decades the claim has oft been made that leaders, even presidents, can be great leaders for a nation while, at the very same time, being suspect in their personal lives. And yet, how can the public expect a president, who will not be faithful and loving to his spouse, to be faithful and unwavering in promises made to the electorate? Can voters expect a leader who does not respect the one they’ve vowed to cherish most in life…can voters expect this self-same leader to respect the public at large?
Chris Wallace sat down with Mitt and Ann Romney at their summer home on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, unveiling a loving, devoted couple. Watching 2 people interact can be very telling, and the Romneys interact like best friends and sweethearts, eager to point out each other’s good attributes. Neither Mitt nor Ann will divulge their topics of disagreement, “We have to have a united front” spoke Ann, when asked to list any points of contention.
Mitt and Ann fell in love as teenagers, married in 1969 when he was 22 and she was 19, then proceeded to have 5 boys between 1970 and 1981. After 42 years of marriage, the couple still display such affability and respect for each other that viewers will find their laughter contagious. “Being around each other just gives us a sense of security and serenity and peace” Ann offered. Mitt quickly added, “She [Ann] has been my best friend, obviously, and my counselor throughout my life.” One begins to draw a picture, not unlike that of the historically loving John and Abigail Adams, the adoring Reagans, and George W. Bush and his cherished Laura.
Ann smiles and continues, when asked about Mitt being out of touch, “I will tell you something. When I was really, really sick…I was unable to do anything in a normal life…this was during the time Mitt was running the Olympics and he was putting in long hours. He would come home, on his way home he would stop at the grocery store, he was making dinner…” Chris Wallace followed with, “I also hear from my sources that you have an unhealthy attraction to Costco?” Both Mitt and Ann laughed as she answered,
“Oh! We both love Costco!” Hmmm…not as out of touch as Chris suspected.
In a mere 12 plus minutes, the Wallace interview allows the nation to glimpse Mitt and Ann as they always seem to be when together: relaxed and just plain happy. Mitt confesses, “If I have any time available, and people ask what would you like to do…the thing I’d like to do is be with Ann.” Mitt has faithfully loved his Ann through 42 years, which include her battle with MS and breast cancer (the cancer was successfully treated 2008). Romney has been a stalwart man of his word to his wife and his sons.
In a time when star-quality often eclipses integrity, voters must look past the facade to the substance of the candidates. A good way to judge a man’s substance is to examine his treatment of those in closest relationship to him. In November, Americans must be reminded to vote for a man of relentless principles and careful character. A man who would sacrifice himself for his wife, who he loves, will do no less for the country he loves. Mitt Romney is such a man.