On Independence Day, as protesters gathered in Philadelphia to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and a mass shooter sprayed bullets into an unsuspecting parade crowd near Chicago, the former Massachusetts governor has released an essay identifying what he believes is at the root of America’s current problems : denial.
Mitt Romney, now a Republican senator from Utah, has criticized both political parties and warned of the dangers former President Donald Trump still poses to American democracy.
The essay, published in Atlanticfocuses on Romney’s view that too many Americans are engaged in wishful thinking that is bolstered by “the carefully constructed, bias-confirming arguments of the usual gang of sophists, swindlers, and Holocaust deniers.”
One such Holocaust denier, writes Romney, is Trump.
“A Donald Trump return would feed the disease, making it likely incurable,” he wrote.
Trump’s denial of the 2020 election results, saying he “won in a landslide,” is an example of a strong tendency to “believe what we hope is the case,” Romney wrote. Variations of this type of illusion, believing that one is going to win just because one really wants to win, are commonplace – just look at those who feed money into slot machines, he wrote.
But Americans shouldn’t hide in the sand, he continued.
“Over the past half-century, we Americans have lived in very forgiving times, and seeing the world through rose-colored glasses has had limited consequences,” Romney wrote. “The climate was stable, our economy eclipsed competition, democracy was on the rise, and our military might made the United States the world’s sole superpower. Today, each of these things has changed. If we continue to ignore the real threats we face, America will inevitably suffer serious consequences.
Leadership is the solution to this denial, according to Romney. He referenced Winston Churchill rallying Britain and the world to confront Nazi Germany, as well as Abraham Lincoln who held the country together during the Civil War and Ronald Reagan, who “shook us out of our faintness”.
What about America’s current leadership? President Biden, Romney wrote, is a “really good man,” but so far he hasn’t shown the ability to cure the American disease of denial, deception and mistrust. Congress, he wrote, is too often guilty of backing down in the face of serious threats to the country.
“Too often Washington demonstrates the maxim that for evil to thrive, good men need only do nothing,” Romney wrote.
As for the future, Romney hopes for a president capable of uniting America “behind the truth”. Many potential candidates, who are not named in the essay, have the experience and intelligence required for the position.
What remains to be seen, he added, is whether or not they possess the “character and capacity” to unite the country and face reality, instead of perpetuating the national culture of denial. .
Ultimately, Romney wrote, ordinary Americans must be prepared to step into the vacuum created by ineffective leadership.
“While we wait, leadership must come from fathers and mothers, teachers and nurses, priests and rabbis, businessmen and women, journalists and pundits,” he wrote. . “It will force us all to rise above ourselves – above our grievances and our resentments – and seize the mantle of leadership that our country so desperately needs.”
Romney has been a vocal critic of the Republican base since Trump was elected in 2016. In 2020, he became the first senator in history to vote to convict a president from his own party in an impeachment trial. After Jan. 6, Romney was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial. This spring, Romney was one of three Republicans who voted to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
Last year, he equated Trump’s rallies with professional wrestling, telling CNN the events were based on entertainment, not truth.
Romney’s political future remains murky. In April, he told The Hill that he had not yet decided whether to run for a second term in Utah. He could face stiff competition from candidates like state Attorney General Sean Reyes, who has backed Trump through controversy.
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