Part Two: The Republican National Convention—“How many men do you know who would…”
By Dave Andrusko
There are political clichés and there are political clichés, but none is more enduring than the idea that a presidential nominee’s acceptance speech is his “introduction” to the public at large. But how could that be true of pro-life Mitt Romney when he has been on the political scene for decades and also ran for President four years ago? Surely, prior to Thursday, we knew pretty much what all we needed to know, right?
What struck me watching the GOP convention last night was how self-described political junkies readily admitted they knew hardly any of the private side of Gov. Romney that was revealed in understated but stirring tributes by a series of people but especially Pat Finlayson and Ted and Pat Oparowski. (You can watch Pam Finlayson at www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/3844140; and Ted and Pat Oparowski at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZlB7aR-2h8. I have also included the text of Pat Finlayson’s remarks.)
That a man who no doubt had thousands of demands on his time took time out over the course of years to be with the family of a baby who had been born months premature. It is a remarkable story of out-of-the-headlines compassion and faithfulness, of a man who when he saw the baby his “eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back. I could tell immediately that he didn’t just see a tangle of plastic and tubes; he saw our beautiful little girl, and he was clearly overcome with compassion for her.”
Finlayson said that complications from her daughter Kate’s birth stayed with her “and after 26 years of both miracles and struggle,” her daughter died a year and half ago.
“In the midst of making the final decision to run for President – which had to be the most difficult of their lives – when they heard of Kate’s passing, both Mitt and Ann paused, to personally reach out to extend us sympathy, and express their love,” she told the convention.
“It seems to me when it comes to loving our neighbor, we can talk about it, or we can live it. The Romney’s live it every single day.
“When the world looks at Mitt Romney, they see him as the founder of a successful business, the leader of the Olympics, or a Governor.
“When I see Mitt, I know him to be a loving father, man of faith and caring and compassionate friend.
That a very busy, very powerful man would be pleased to help David Oparowski, a terminally ill young boy, make out a will. As Mrs. Oparowski told a hushed audience
“David, knowing Mitt had gone to law school at Harvard, asked Mitt if he would help him write a will. He had some prize possessions that he wanted to make sure were given to his closest friends and family. The next time Mitt went to the hospital, he was equipped with his yellow legal pad and pen. Together, they made David’s will. That is a task that no child should ever have to do. But it gave David peace of mind. So after David’s death, we were able to give his skateboard, his model rockets, and his fishing gear to his best friends. He also made it clear that his brother Peter should get his Ruger .22 rifle.
“How many men do you know who would take the time out of their busy lives to visit a terminally ill 14 year old and help him settle his affairs?”
She continued, “David also helped us plan his funeral. “He wanted to be buried in his Boy Scout uniform. He wanted Mitt to pronounce his eulogy, and Mitt was there to honor that request. We will be ever grateful to Mitt for his love and concern.”
Ted Oparowski summarized what this meant to them. “You cannot measure a man’s character based on the words he utters before adoring crowds during times that are happy,” he said. “The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble — the quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters.”
You can watch Gov. Romney deliver his acceptance speech at www.c-span.org/RNC/Events/Mitt-Romney-Now-is-the-Time-to-Restore-the-Promise-of-America/10737433677-1). Some argue his speech was pretty good but hardly memorable. Nothing could be further from the truth. He told the truth, affirmed his principles—that includes the importance of defending the sanctity of life—and rather than delivering a withering personal assault on the President pointed out where Mr. Obama had failed to deliver on his promises.
Mr. Romney has said over and over and over again he is who is he is. By that he means he is not going to be put on airs or pretentious artifices, that instead of promising (as did President Obama) “to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” Mr. Romney would promise “to help you and your family.”
And most of all, perhaps, we learn that Mr. Romney takes SERIOUSLY Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6: 1-4
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Pam Finlayson’s Tribute to Mitt Romney
In 1982, my husband Grant and I moved from California to Massachusetts, with our newborn son.
Being a church-going family, we looked for the nearest chapel and soon found ourselves in a congregation led by a clearly bright and capable man, named Mitt Romney.
I knew Mitt was special from the start.
We didn’t own a dryer, and the day he stopped by to welcome us, I was embarrassed to have laundry hanging all over the house. Mitt wasn’t fazed.
In fact, as we spoke, without a word, he joined me and started helpfully plucking clothes from around the room and folding them.
By the time Mitt left, not only did I feel welcome, my laundry was done!
As Grant and I juggled school, jobs, church and family, we grew to love the Romneys.
They became role-models and friends, and we were honored when Mitt and Ann regularly trusted us to stay with their five rambunctious – but very loving – sons when they traveled.
It was when our daughter Kate was born three and a half months early that I fully came to appreciate what a great treasure of friendship we had in Mitt and Ann.
Kate was so tiny and very sick.
Her lungs not yet ready to breathe, her heart unstable, and after suffering a severe brain hemorrhage at three days old, she was teetering on the very edge of life.
As I sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother’s worry and fear, dear Mitt came to visit and pray with me.
As our clergy, he was one of few visitors allowed.
I will never forget that when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back.
I could tell immediately that he didn’t just see a tangle of plastic and tubes; he saw our beautiful little girl, and he was clearly overcome with compassion for her.
During the many months Kate was hospitalized, the Romneys often cared for our two-year old son, Peter. They treated him like one of their own, even welcoming him to stay the night when needed.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, Kate was still struggling for life.
Brain surgery was scheduled, and the holiday was the furthest thing from our minds.
I opened my door to find Mitt and his boys, arms loaded with a Thanksgiving feast.
Of course we were overcome. When I called to thank Ann, she sweetly confessed it had been Mitt’s idea, that most of the cooking and chopping had been done by him.
She and the boys had just happily pitched in.
Eventually we moved from Boston. Our daughter Kate grew into an amazing girl of faith and love.
But complications of her birth remained with her, and after 26 years of both miracles and struggle, she passed away just a year and a half ago.
In the midst of making the final decision to run for President – which had to be the most difficult of their lives – when they heard of Kate’s passing, both Mitt and Ann paused, to personally reach out to extend us sympathy, and express their love.
It seems to me when it comes to loving our neighbor, we can talk about it, or we can live it.
The Romney’s live it every single day.
When the world looks at Mitt Romney, they see him as the founder of a successful business, the leader of the Olympics, or a Governor.
When I see Mitt, I know him to be a loving father, man of faith and caring and compassionate friend.
It is with great excitement and a renewed hope, to know that our country will be blessed as it is led by a man who is not only so accomplished and capable, but who has devoted his entire life quietly serving others.
That man is Mitt Romney.
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