No Apology

The Book

Political TV ads can be fun. And annoying.

Debates can be fun. And maddening.

You can indeed learn things about the candidates from watching the ads and debates. But fifteen and thirty second snippets of information really don’t give you the full picture. And sometimes they actually hide the facts, producing nothing more than informational smog.

Recently, I decided I wanted to really know what Mitt Romney thought.  What he was about.  What he hopes to accomplish if he wins the presidency. If Mitt was someone in my neighborhood, I’d go visit the man, and we’d have a chat.

I’d ask him about his ideas and past. I’d ask him to give me examples. Because of the nature of the issues at stake and the number of them, I imagine our chat would probably last a few hours.  It might stretch over a number of evenings.

Of course, I’d want time to consider our chat and determine where I did and didn’t agree with him. I’d want to hear what others thought. And I’d want to look into his history, his successes and failures.

But the first step would be to go to the man himself and hear him out.

I hate it when people put words in my mouth. I’m sure Romney, or anyone else running, hates that same thing. If I were running, I’d would hope folks would take the time to hear me out. They may ultimately disagree with me on many or a few things. But I’d hope, as they are gathering information, that they would take the time to actually go to the source and listen to what I myself had to say.

Unfortunately, I can’t walk around the corner and knock on Mitt’s door. But he did write a book that was published in 2010, and it’s probably the next best thing to talking to Romney at his kitchen table. The book is called No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.

I’ll admit I thought it was going to be a dry guide book explaining his position on every hot political issue. It’s not a guide book.  In fact, he leaves a number of topics out. Nor was it dry.

I also suspected it might be a scathing attack piece on the Obama administration. It’s not that either.  Not even close. He does criticize some things where he and Obama differ, but he also commends him on a few things. Either way, Obama is a very small part of the book.

So what IS this book?

Romney states its purpose in the introduction: it’s “about what I believe should be our primary national objective: to keep America strong and to preserve its place as the world’s leading nation” and “the course I believe we must take to strengthen the nation in order to remain prosperous, secure, and free” (2). It’s about his ideas on how to make sure America does not falter as so many nations have, but remains wealthy, happy, and productive.

I finished the book yesterday. I found it interesting, personable, sometimes surprising, and insightful.

I found Mitt Romney to be a man self-deprecating humor.  He’s also a thinking man, one who likes to look at data to see what it shows. It’s clear he’s a man who does NOT think he knows everything or has a monopoly on every good idea, but he’s also a man who demands evidence.  I also saw a man who is kind.  He doesn’t talk much about his 14 years of service as a lay minister in his church in this book, but you can see how those years changed him as he discusses helping the unemployed, out-of-wedlock births, and single-parent families.  Finally, I saw a man who loves, LOVES, America and is convinced she can remain the hope of the earth, but only if we do things that foster our strength.

This book outlines what he thinks those things are.

The book is written in a conversational and easy style with many examples from his personal experience, studies, and history. Romney’s record of accomplishments demonstrates his skills and hard work ethic. This book explains to what end he would apply that skill and work.

If you’re planning on voting this November for the president of the United States, I think you’ll find this book very useful.  You may end up agreeing with many things he says. You may end up disagreeing with him on many points. But before you can do either, you need to understand what Romney’s position actually is.  And the first step in doing so is to fully hear the man out, in his own words, from his own lips.

As a result, whether you end up deciding he’s your candidate or not, you WILL come away with important insights into the issues discussed.

What’s Next

I want you to know that I do not worship George, Ben, Tom, Adam or any of the other guys who formed our constitution and started this nation.

They put their lives and fortunes on the line for what they believed in. And I am immensely grateful for what they did.  I enjoy tremendous freedoms because of their courage, determination, and sacrifice. Those guys, by-and-large, rock!

But I do NOT believe that their words are scripture nor that their ideas are sacrosanct—merely to be accepted and not to be considered and questioned and disagreed with.

Even so, these guys were gutsy and brilliant. They attempted something everyone thought would fail.  Something that HAD failed every time it had been attempted in their recorded history. But they pulled it off and changed the world.

These guys believed in the common man. They believed that the educated common man was the best person to hold the reins of government. Thomas Jefferson thought up a rhyme to make the idea easy to remember.  He said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

I can’t argue with that.

Of course, we’re not going to become experts on every policy issue. But we certainly can become informed on the broad principles and issues. And we can certainly become informed about the candidates.

Because I found No Apology so useful, over the next few days I’m going to summarize Romney’s main points, chapter by chapter, here. I’ll also point out interesting ideas and facts he shares as well as share any questions, quibbles, or disagreements I have.

I hope you find it useful. More importantly, I hope you read the book and join in the conversation.

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