Final Reflections As the Votes Are Counted

I type this post mere hours before the first set of polls close on election day, and I must admit that I’m as nostalgic as I am anxious.  Nancy and I were discussing our electoral journey last night, and we think we might number among the first half-dozen or so volunteers for the Mitt effort – dating back to a memorable phone call two days after George Bush won re-election.  Seven years ago this Fall, I met with Mitt for the first time to explain that – yes – he could win the evangelical vote.  Tonight, while we don’t yet know the outcome, we do know that evangelicals will turn out for this Mormon from Massachusetts in overwhelming numbers.  It will be a deeply gratifying moment.

It’s hard to describe the amount of effort since those first calls and meetings — working until it hurt; giving until it hurt; and through it all doing so in the company of great friends, old and new.

The memories come flooding back . . .

-Of speaking to a living room-full of Tennessee evangelicals (fundamentalists, really) in February 2006 to convince them to give up a weekend to go to Memphis to vote in the first straw poll of last election cycle for “Matt Romney?  Who’s Matt Romney?” and following up with the now-familiar bio of a man of integrity who knows how to turn things around;

-Of taking two young kids with pink eye to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference and watching the hand out buttons while our fledgling Evangelicals for Mitt crew organized a motley strike force of Memphis Mormons, Jackson Baptists, and Nashville Church of Christers to shock the political world (and Mitt!) with a second place finish;

-Of countless conversations with “I ain’t gonna vote for a Mormon” southern evangelicals — all of whom ended up enthusiastically supporting Mitt;

-Of Nancy and I giving up our last weekend before my Iraq deployment to win the Values Voter 2007 straw poll — only to see Nancy thrown out of the conference and physically confronted by irate Huckabee supporters;

-Of getting a gracious and kind gift and note from Mitt just before I left for Iraq and writing him a thank you note at 4:00 a.m. on the morning I left for war — expressing a hope that I would soon salute him as my commander-in-chief;

-Of the moment when Nancy messaged me in Iraq that Mitt had withdrawn from the race but knowing in my heart that the story was not over;

-Of Mitt and Ann reaching out to Nancy during the deployment, and Nancy enjoying a marvelous weekend with them in their Utah home;

-Of Nancy reporting that she lied to Romneys by telling him that she could ski (just so she could keep hanging out) and then almost injured Mitt on the slopes by tackling him out during an uncontrolled free fall;

-Of saddling up once again in 2010 and journeying down to New Orleans for yet another straw poll – the first of the 2012 season – but with many, many more Evangelicals for Mitt than we had in 2006;

-Of 1,000 No Apology books, 2,000 “We need a president who won’t break the bank” piggy banks, hundreds of piggy bank t-shirts, and some very clever “Burma Shave” signs (signs still in our garage);

-Of beating Ron Paul by one vote as the Ron Paul revolution rained profanities upon us;

-Of herculean efforts from dear friends to finance the effort and all their wisdom and moral guidance during times good and bad;

-Of a Time hit piece against Nancy, me and our Evangelical for Mitt friends;

-Of the hundreds of vile and vicious comments and hateful interactions that we endured during two primary contests — including efforts to destroy our careers and even physically intimidate Nancy, me, and even our children;

-Of the thousands more blessed and life-giving conversations with new Mormon friends as God orchestrated our efforts in surprising ways to build bridges of friendship, reconciliation, and understanding between evangelical and LDS;

-Of the dark days after South Carolina;

-Of the dark days after Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota;

-Of the marvelous day when we gathered in Tampa to see a nomination that so many told us would never happen and to hear the thunderous applause of a conservative movement that pundits said would never unite;

-Of poll-watching, number-crunching, blogging, tweeting, and facebooking;

But most of all . . .

-Of two people, Mitt and Ann Romney, who took on an immense, years-long burden out of love this great nation, carried that burden with grace, integrity, and dignity, and have — at all times — made us proud to know them, support them, and do whatever we could — whether they be things great or small — to help them win.

Today’s outcome is — as it has always been — in God’s hands.  On this fateful day I’m reminded of the words used by many of our nation’s leaders and founders — going back first, I believe, to the abolitionist John Jay:  Duty is ours; consequences are God’s.

We have done our duty.  Let’s see what God has in store.

  • Jon Betzold

    God bless you, David and Nancy! God bless you!

  • Ton P. Alcantara

    Indeed, a very good reflection! You’re right it’s nostalgic. In the end, it all worth it! On to victory!

  • Craig

    Thank you for bridging the gap between the Church of LDS and the rest of Christ’s Body. I look forward to Christianity’s full embrace of both Mormonism and the truly American Gospel that Mormonism offers.

  • Layne

    What an amazing journey for the both of you. Thank you for bring the rest us along with you. May God bless the both of you, and your family.

  • robert

    It was an emotional time for many of us, Mr French I have a big favor to ask of you. I have thought angry thoughts and have said some unkind things about Gov. Romney during the campaign, I was wrong and I wish to apologize. If you could tell him that one rebel without a clue has come to learn that Mr. Romney is a good person and I ask for his forgiveness for my unchristian behavior.

  • http://plainandpreciousthing.blogspot.com/ Rozann

    Thank you Nancy and David for all your sacrifices and service. May God bless you and yours with all the righteous desires of your heart.

  • Kathy

    As I went to bed around 10:00 last night, the numbers were close, but I knew in my heart our next president was not going to be Mitt Romney. This morning I cannot turn on the television. It’s like I want to believe Mitt Romney will be our next president for just a little longer, postponing the inevitable certainty. Then I decided I wanted the news to come from David and Nancy. Your blog of yesterday has prepared me now. It is a wonderful tribute to Mitt and Ann – people who were willing to step up and sacrifice for the love of our country, its constitution and its people. Unfortunately, today, Nov. 7, it reads more like an obituary. What would it have been like to have him as our President? We won’t know. I just hope and pray someday we will have values and integrity restored in the White House. You ended your post with the comment, “Let’s see what God has in store.” As much as we did not want this outcome, it was God’s decision to give Obama four more years. As believers, we will have to stand stronger, pray more desperately and live more faithfully, and hopefully shine more brightly now because it is more obvious than ever that this world (this country) is not our home. Daniel did it, we can too.

  • http://www.traveladies.com Lisa Campbell

    Thank you for all you have done to further this cause. I too am shedding many tears as I realise that the scripture in the Book of Mormon – Helamam 5:2 – 3 is not only describing ancient times, but our current one.
    2 For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
    3 Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.

    I will continue to pray for our current president as well as all of those who gave such time and effort to try to make a truly needed change for this country.
    God is in control and we are just here to try to know what His will is and do it.

    God bless you!

  • Paul Baird

    Thank you for your efforts to help achieve Mitt’s GOP nomination. Keep us informed on your next projects.

  • Bill S

    This country is moving in a direction of tolerance, equal rights, secularism, etc. The Religious Right has got to take a long hard look at its antiquated values which are derived from scriptures that provide no relevant guidance for modern living. Roe v. Wade will never be reversed. Gays will be allowed to marry. Contraception will be covered under health care programs. This country is evolving and progressing.

    • Dan Peterson

      Bill S.–Real values, rooted in sound principles that Mr. Romney reference in his concession speech are immovable, real and lasting. They are not blown about by winds of convenience. Liberals have a hard time with the word “morals,” but those values and principles are rooted in a set of morals. Everyone, at some level, recognizes at least a basic frame-work for these morals that speaks to right and wrong. We can certainly opt to abandon the whispering of that moral compass that many of us would call the Spirit of God, but it is there and will continue to speak to good people. That Voice says yielding choice to addictive substances or destroys life after conception isn’t my idea of “progress.” God doesn’t yield to the polls of men. He expects us to follow His will. A liberal citing “progress” calls that weakness. May God bless the Romneys for speaking what was not ultimately popular, but was right. There are good men and women of all faiths, colors and creeds that I pray will continue to carry the banner of truths rooted in principles regardless of popularity.

      • Sagrav

        “God doesn’t yield to the polls of men. He expects us to follow His will.”

        If there is a God, and if He sided with the right and their supposedly traditional values, then He would have used His powers to make Mitt Romney president. He didn’t. Thus, it is His will that progressives/liberals succeed and attempt to make this nation a less cruel and barbaric place to live. Rape pregnancies do not please Him. Dominating the sexual lives of women and homosexuals of all stripes is also does not please Him. Allowing free market ideologues and billionaire oligarchs to purchase this election was also not His will.

        God answered the Frenches’ prayers. His answer was “No.”

        • Dan

          There is a God. If he didn’t allow people to make mistakes, there would be no need for us to be here in the first place to exercise our own will. Your argument assumes dictators would never assume power if “He sided with the right.” Don’t assume you know what Gods will is from the outcome of an election. I don’t assume that. And I don’t know what his will is regarding an election, but I do know that his commandments, regardless of the opinions of men, are immovable and firm. Amanda, you are in the same boat; you assume beliefs are “outdated.” True principles and virtues never go out of date. Bill S., you know you are on a slippery slope with marijuana. “Not as addictive as you think” is a copout. Ask children whose parents are spending massive amounts of their income on marijuana or the parent who loses a child in a care accident due to a driver under the influence of marijuana if it “isn’t actually addictive.” You imply it’s as addictive as chocolate (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-abuse/marijuana-addictive).

          One conservative congressman made a ridiculous comment about rape and all liberals assume conservatives must be okay with rape. Give me a break.

          Regarding abortion; everyone loves to talk about a woman’s right to choose. Despite the outcry that I hear every time I say this, why doesn’t the dialogue begin with a woman’s right to choose whether she (and the male) engages in intercourse? Isn’t that the “choice” that should be front and center? Why is that absent from dialogue?

          Regarding abortions Be honest. Wait….I guess honest must be “outdated” by definition of Amanda, Bill S. and Sagrav because honesty is rooted in a moral code that says there is a wrong and a right. Flame away, folks, but there must be some sense of immovable morals in this world. How you choose to define them is your call. God be our judge.

    • Amanda

      Well said! I find it very encouraging that so many people voted for tolerance and helped keep those who made ignorant, insensitive remarks about rape and abortion from being reelected. This country is definitely moving in the right direction. The outdated beliefs of the Religious Right, social conservatives et al. will be left behind.

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  • Bill S

    “That Voice says yielding choice to addictive substances or destroys life after conception isn’t my idea of ‘progress’.”

    I don’t completely understand that sentence, but the election had very little impact on what I think you are trying to say. I voted yes for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Ok. I don’t think I would have voted yes in Colorado or Washington. But I respect the voters decision. And it isn’t actually addictive as you have implied.

    Obama is pushing for free contraception, not abortion, which would be legal under any president. The more contraceptives, the less unwanted pregnancies. The less unwanted pregnancies, the less abortions.

    The other significant vote was for equal rights for gays. I’m sure you have a problem with that too. Bigotry and intolerance will get you nowhere in this country. Thankfully

    • Dan

      Bill, a bigot is defined as those who have intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself. Have you looked in the mirror today? You assume reasonable people can’t find compromise in difficult issues. I’m actually find with what I deem reasonable rights for gay couples including medical, end of life, property and custodial issues. Marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. That’s a principle I stand firm on.


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