Jewish Journal

Mitt’s defeat: We’ve come a long way, America

by Mark Paredes

November 6, 2012 | 11:46 pm

I write these words immediately following Mitt Romney’s gracious concession speech. I dearly wish that he had been able to deliver a victory speech instead, but the election gods clearly weren’t smiling on Boston tonight. While I was disappointed with the result, I remain enormously proud of this country’s progress. Ten years ago few people would have thought it possible for either a black or a Mormon candidate to have a serious shot at the White House. This year a black and a Mormon ran against each other, and the issues of race and religion were largely absent from the campaign.

I hope that Mormons of all political stripes would take pride in having one of their own make a serious run for the most powerful office in the world, winning tens of millions of votes from other Americans who believed in him. Mormons have come a long way in this country, and I believe that our best days are ahead of us. I know many Jews who strongly supported Mitt’s candidacy, and he appears to have convinced 30% of Jews to vote for him. In addition, his strong support for Israel and the Jewish people highlights the philo-Semitic nature of his faith. Although I admire Paul Ryan, Mitt probably would have received more Jewish votes if he had had someone perceived to be more centrist as his running mate.

I didn’t vote for him, but I will pray for President Obama – and for our country. He’s got a tough job, and it’s unlikely to get any easier. This time he won’t have President Bush to blame for his failures. I want President Obama to succeed because I want America to succeed. The fact that he had to beat a Mormon in order to retain his office shows that America has come a long way in terms of tolerance and acceptance of minority groups. Who knows? We could even be a better nation after a second Obama term. Let us pray.

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Mark Paredes is a former Mormon bishop currently living in Los Angeles. He has worked for the ZOA, the American Jewish Congress, and the Consulate General of Israel in Los...

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