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View from US: Back on mommy daddy track

September 09, 2012

Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist — because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That's how she found out what happened on the day my father died — she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.

Mitt Romney, 65, stood erect at the podium and shed a tear or two when he related this story to the audience of thousands gathered to celebrate Romney’s bid for the White House coming November. The stiff, coldly calculating capitalist was actually tearing up. And crying with him were the suckers in the hall salivating for such soapy stuff.

My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all — the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.

Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family — and God’s love — this world would be a far more gentle and better place.

Enough of over sentimentalism lathered in pastoral drama, you would say. But not the American media and the voter. They love to hear personal fairy tales from their leaders. TV anchors and commentators were going bananas over Romney’s romanticism. Many after the speech declared Romney the winner of the White House. By delivering the above lines, Romney was converted, in the eyes of the media, from a hardened businessman lacking a heart, to a fantabulous, fun loving human being!

Wait till you hear Ann’s personal story. It’s even more frothy and phantasmagoric.

Radiant in red taffeta dress and dazzling gold earrings with matching bracelet, the mother of five handsome young men and their kids totaling 18, Ann Romney, according to the many media, stole the show.

Tonight, I want to talk to you about love. I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have and I know we share for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep, only a mother can fathom it. The love that we have for our children and our children's children.

Women wept openly as Ann continued: It’s the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right. It's the mom's of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together. We're the mothers. We're the wives. We're the grandmothers. We’re the big sisters. We're the little sisters and we are the daughters.

Blah, blah, blah.

Ann, who drives a “couple of Cadillacs” according to her husband with a whopping $250m bank account, partly hidden in Swiss banks and the Cayman Islands, tried selling her personal story as a young bride: We got married and moved into a basement apartment… ate a lot of pasta and Tuna fish (ordinary people’s food)… our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen.

Each sentence that followed had people and the media rhapsodising about Ann.

Unbelievable, but true. How, you may well wonder, can the most powerful nation in the world turn into pulp the minute it hears anecdotal accounts that tell of courage, adversity, poverty, love and sacrifice of parents.

“Here’s a word I’d like to see banned from future speeches at national political conventions: ‘Mom.’ Here’s another: ‘Dad,’” writes H. Hertzberg in the New Yorker. Going down the mommy and poppy gauzy route, he lists all the presidents, past and present, who have “lurched” down this track while accepting a major-party nomination for President of the United States. This is “less than ideal venue for a person who stands an even chance of becoming (or remaining) the most powerful human being on earth to go all teary about how much he loves his parents and his children and his spouse and how much they love him.”

Instead Hertzberg wishes the political speakers would get themselves a bit more “Roman grit and cut down on the chin-trembling about mommy and daddy.”

The keynote speaker at the recent Tampa, Florida, convention was Governor Christie of New Jersey. He too dwelt upon length at what a great woman his mom was. Who cares? I said out aloud while listening to his ‘chin-trembling’ tribute to his late mother. Don’t we all love our mothers? Don’t we all sing their praise testifying to their greatness as our mentors?

The soapiest speech of all came from the vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. With his puppy-blue droopy eyes and a widow’s peak V-shaped hairline, the young 42-year old congressman, openly and quite fulsomely cried when he mentioned his mom, sitting in the audience.

My Mom started a small business, and I've seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business… Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Tears, more tears and more chin trembling!

The three-day Republican national convention had a pack of speakers who openly and blatantly bored us with their personal life stories. There was President Bush’s secretary of state Condi Rice telling us about a little girl growing up in racist Jim Crow’s Birmingham, the segregated city of the south where her parents couldn’t take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they had her convinced that even if she could not have a hamburger at all-white Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.

Claps and more claps for a black woman denouncing fellow-black Obama as a loser, so vote for the white Romney.

Earlier Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley opened up her speech with: I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every single day how blessed we were to live in this country. They loved the fact that only in America, we could be as successful as we wanted to be and nothing would stand in our way. My parents started a business out of the living room of our home and, 30-plus years later, it was a multimillion-dollar company.

Finally Marco Rubio, the Cuban-origin senator from Florida said of his father: He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.

Once again, the crowd went bananas.

Every four years America falls in love with the person with the most heart wrenching life story. That’s why it elected Barack Obama, his colour, name and Kenyan roots notwithstanding.

Americans can be summed up in one sentence: sickeningly sentimental, politically naïve, callously ignorant of world beyond their borders, and selfishly individualistic. Russian-born Ayn Rand is vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s priestess of a good life: the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life.

Next week you will hear Obama re-tell his story at the Democratic National Convention.