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April 13, 2012

Racism and the “Cult”

Roy Meachum

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s withdrawal from the GOP presidential primary leaves former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the favored nominee, as droned into our minds by commentators.


My native region has long been considered the Solid South, united by the sins and crimes of the post-Civil War’s Reconstruction attributed to Republican carpet-baggers. In segregation days, they contributed to Democratic sweeps into the White House. Franklin Delano Roosevelt amazing four terms followed by Harry S Truman’s 1948 victory were won by Southern Democrats. Integration enabled the literal revolution in voter registrations engineered by Richard Nixon.


Northern emigration converted Florida to the GOP. Significantly George W. Bush reached the Oval Office because of the Sunshine State, as affirmed by the divided Supreme Court. That was 20 years after journalists and professional savants “knew” Chicago Mayor Richard Daley stole the 1960 election to benefit his fellow Roman Catholic, John F. Kennedy. But JFK failed to summon the pope to rule America – as the Ku Klux Klan preached. There is little Southern public bias against the Kennedys’ faith.


The Church of the Latter Day Saints didn’t exist outside of Utah and several Western States until well after World War II. Their “elder-missionaries” are now familiar sights on Frederick streets and most of the nation. There are few Mormon churches outside of large metropolitan complexes. Without reading it, their Book of Mormon is judged anti-Bible by most Christians and Jews who persecuted Prophet Joseph Smith’s followers into the desert as far as the present Utah. Their practices were modified, particularly polygamy, before their territory was admitted to the United States – only in 1896, as the 45th state. During the spring GOP presidential primaries, Mormon Mitt Romney won only Florida in the South.


Except for South Carolina and Georgia taken by former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum won the Solid South before cashing in his chips this week. The combination of Mr. Romney’s Mormonism and less than acceptable views in the region makes the final row-to-hoe more than difficult. He has an anti-female reputation because of his stands on contraception – the issue that caused a Catholic insurgency after Vatican II.


Wide-spread stories that the certain GOP nominee will invite the female governor of South Carolina onto his slate cannot be brushed off. Nikki Haley is a staunch Republican who strongly advocates her points. As the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, she might mollify darker skinned voters, including Latinos. Maybe not, because of Mr. Romney’s criticism of policies that he figures are responsible for so many families here from Mexico and Central and South America. Since he will face African-American Barack Obama, there’s no hope for the black vote.


Most of all, the former Massachusetts governor must pay attention to the Republicans who failed to grant him momentum to sweep the primaries before him. There’s little danger that evangelicals in whatever region will lead large turnouts promoting his candidacy. Wealth does not come into his favor: he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His personality unsettles more than several. Still, there’s so much bitterness against the president that Mitt Romney may slide into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Nothing about today’s politics is capable of pulling-off surprises, especially when racism and the “cult” of Mormonism raise their heads.


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