Let me tell you about the very rich, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his celebrated 1926 short story The Rich Boy. They're different from you and me. In fact, today’s rich are not only different from you and me but different from the rich of yesterday, too. Whether an automotive titan who stitched America’s seams together, or a slick venture capitalist who enjoys pulling them apart, the dichotomy between Fitzgerald’s aristocrats and the power brokers of today is that once upon a time privilege led to growth and prosperity, rather than speculation, schemes, and the shameless self-promotion that now characterize the 21st century.
Perhaps no one in the world fits more squarely into this paradigm than Utah's candidate for Senator, Mitt Romney. The privileged and enterprising son of American businessman, George Romney, who presided over American Motors as its Chairman and President, the State of Michigan as its 43rd Governor, the Nixon Administration’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and was even the 1968 Republican Presidential nominee! Whether dreaming of or being driven by his magnificent father, Mitt Romney began cutting his future together at the prestigious Cranbrook School; pouring over automobile trade magazines and aspiring to be an executive (and celebrity) like Dad.
Striding toward and through the obstacle course of glory, Mitt, by rights, made all the right calls. A BA from Brigham Young and combined MBA-JD from Harvard, Romney triple-backs into a partnership at Bain & Company where (and forget what you think you know about the fast track) he’s promoted to VP within a year over and above the firm’s most senior partners. By year 5 he’s president of the firm’s private investment spin-off known as Bain Capital and, sort of like that clown who blows helium into balloons at the circus, veritably pumps venture capitalism into the 1980’s phenomenon known as the “The Bain Way.”
Who knew America needed a stationary super-store on every corner or that the real money was in leveraged buyouts: where maximizing a company’s perceived value, over and above actual job creation, always led to the convulsion of layoffs and payoffs concurrently. Be that as it may, Romney retires after nearly 25 years with Bain Capital with a cool $250M parked in the bank, and an additional $21M per annum in loose change. Some call that prosperity. Others call that privilege. It really just depends on your perspective of “The American Way.”
Crushing small businesses and exploiting consumer markets was hardly restricted to the mere sport of capitalism. Indeed, the Mormon’s mantra “every member a missionary” requires of their now 16 million members to "spread the gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people" (that's 176 at present). To this end, each member partakes in a sacred temple ceremony known as the "Endowment," and is encouraged to marry for "time and all eternity." Thereafter, and here’s the rub, they return each month to marry and baptize – the dead! That’s right. Mormon’s baptize and marry every single person who ever lived on the face of the earth in mock ceremonies in their temples, and believe that without these saving ordinances performed here on earth humankind could not advance to the highest glory of heaven. Indeed, Mitt Romney believes that through these and other practices that he will become like god — to rule and reign over his own planet — in a literal subscription to the belief “As man now is god once was. As god is now man may be...”
While young Romney may have been influenced by his magnanimous father, the real question here is: To whom is he answering now? Joseph Smith, the self proclaimed prophet and founder of the Mormon Church, predicted that the time would come when the Constitution of the United States would hang by a thread, and that the Latter-day Saints would come to its rescue. “How long will it be before the words of the prophet Joseph are fulfilled?” Brigham Young asked some 30 years later. We may know sooner than we think…