Thursday, October 25, 2012

12 Days to the Election: Political Ads & A Story

They are everywhere. On the television at home. 
America Deserves Better (Romney)
On the radio in the car. 
On the internet at work.
Political ads are everywhere.

Don't the marketing geniuses that put this stuff together (while making a slough of money!) realize that most of us know the stuff they keep saying over and over and over? Jeez.

I want fresh information. I want to know what I don't know about the candidates. And, I have been actively seeking such information. To my surprise, I found a story in my own neighborhood.

I have a new neighbor who is renting a house in my neck of the woods since early summer. He retired to sunny south Florida from the Boston area and is looking forward to his first winter here, minus the snow and cold. And, he shared a "Romney story" with me.  One I had never heard before.

This lovely man, who I will call "Henry," lived and worked in Boston his entire adult life and remembers the stories about Romney orchestrating the purchase of land for the Mormon church in a small community outside of Boston.  Belmont, according to my neighbor's recollection, was a community of upper middle class residents who liked the quiet and peaceful life they had outside of the booming city of Boston. The Mormons infiltrated the community by purchasing homes and, over a few years, succeeded in assembling a stockpile of land. It seems residents were not aware of this for several years because the Mormons operated quietly, not doing anything to attract attention to themselves.

At some point in the early 1990s, the Mormons decided they wanted to build a church in Belmont. At the top of a beautiful hill, according to Henry.  When the non-Mormon residents (many of whom had lived there for more than 20 years, he says) learned of this, they attended city council meetings to protest to their elected officials that building a church in that spot would change the character of their neighborhood and their way of life.  Those opposing construction of the church would learn that the city commission was not on their side. Somehow, the Mormons had managed to assemble the parcels of property necessary to build their church and, even a lawsuit wouldn't stop it. And, according to Henry, Mitt Romney was at the lead of this "business venture" on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The same Mitt Romney that is running for President of these United States.

The January 2, 2000, Associated Press news story begins: "BOSTON — The 69,000-square-foot Mormon temple sits atop a hill, dominating the upscale residential neighborhood of single-family homes in suburban Boston. When complete, it will draw crowds of Mormons from all over the northeast and Canada for baptisms, marriages and other ceremonial events." To which I responded, "Oh. My."

Upon researching Henry's story (which I had never heard about before our conversation), I learned that the Mormon church is eager to build churches all over the world and Mitt Romney has been helpful to them in that regard. They're building one near my workplace as I write these words. So, I found myself imagining how it might be to have them infiltrate MY neighborhood the way they did the Belmont community ... and, I thought about how that would make me feel. I've lived in my home for 25 years. It's a quiet neighborhood, off the beaten path, tucked away from all the hullabaloo of tourists, a little piece of "old Florida." I cherish the peace and quiet and lack of traffic. And, I would be heartsick if that happened in my neighborhood, so I suspect that is how many Belmont residents felt back then.

Today, I ask myself and you: Is this who we want to run our country? I think some of you will say "yes." I hope most of you say "no." In 12 more days, we'll all be forced to make that choice.

Some of my references:

NY Times 10/16/2011- Romney, a role of faith and authority

Boston Massachusetts Temple, 100th operating temple

Mormon News' Coverage of the Boston Temple Challenges

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