Thursday, December 19, 2013
The People Beneath the Partisans
So, there's been a lot of discussion online about the documentary "Mitt" (above), and especially the footage showing Romney and his family finally realizing that the election was lost. Some of those on the left of the political spectrum--no names, no penal drill--have been a little bit exultant in their Schadenfreude. A couple that I have seen have even described themselves as enjoying the visible pain on Romney's, his wife's and his children's faces and in their efforts to ride out the growing knowledge that the race is lost.
I find that disturbing. And very, very wrong.
Look, I'm glad that Mitt Romney lost, because I don't think he would have been a good President. I supported Barack Obama, who I think has been, for all his own very real flaws, a good President. But, newsflash, Romney's a human being. And so is his wife, who no doubt loves him, and his children, who in their own way were trying to console him. Families work differently, and how my family deals with stress may be very different from how yours does, and gallows humor like that in the trailer is a well-known coping device. So, no, I'm not laughing at Mitt's pain, or Ann's, or, I most sincerely hope, anyone else's.
The fact is, while I disagree with his policies and with his worldview, I'm sure Romney and his family thought he would be a good President. I mean no one wants the job in order to be the screw up in the history books. And watching a dream die is agony--trust me, I've been there. Oh, not a political candidacy, but a lawsuit that would have been, had it been successful, a major victory for free speech. It was an uphill battle (just like the polls told Romney his candidacy was in the last weeks of the campaign), but when you are fighting the battle, you cannot, cannot, let that play apart in your thinking. You fight for victory, dammit, and believe in your cause for all you're worth. It's the only way for the long shot to happen. You must believe, or you have already lost. When I got the faxed decision, and the first parts were going my way, for a moment, I exulted--only to come crashing to earth when the latter parts of the opinion made clear I had lost. The long shot did not come off. And in litigation, as in politics, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. I had lost, and though we made a little good law along the way, it still was just bloody awful.
That, I think, is way the trailer shows, the moment when, after all the fighting is done, the result becomes clear. And it hurts like hell.
So God bless Mitt, and Ann, and the whole Romney family. Because, after getting hit with that freight train, he managed to give this very gracious concession speech:
That had to be hard, and he did it well.