What a night! Vote here!
This sunny afternoon, I took the kids to Austin’s trap shooting practice. We were thankful when a cloud came through to lessen the heat. He was shooting 100 rounds, so we needed the relief from the sun. Then, out of nowhere, we saw a wind and rain storm coming over the hills. The skeet were not going in a predictable pattern, so the boys were missing their shots. The gravel road next to us stirred and dust from it enveloped us. We couldn’t see, we coughed. The things on our table got picked up and thrown across the field. All of us scurried to get to shelter as lightning suddenly started flashing in the sky. When we finally got in the car, the visibility was so low that we could barely get home. David, on his way home from work during the same time, ran over one of those orange and white traffic barriers which was tossed onto the interstate. My friend’s minivan was hit by one of those little swimming pools usually in suburban back yards.
By the time we got home, Naomi was crying in the car, horrified by the pounding rain. It was so loud on our metal roof that we had to shout to hear each other. Even though we only had to traverse five feet to get inside the house, we were all completely soaked.
Then, almost immediately, it all stopped.
After working on the Romney effort since 2006, you guys know. It’s been hard. We’ve weathered our storms. We’ve been beaten up. We’ve been caught off guard by unexpected turns-of-events.
Then, tonight, Gov. Romney clinched the nomination, finally crossing the threshold of 1,144 delegates.
At that precise moment, our household was embraced by a rainbow — a symbol of God’s mercy in spite of it all.
Honestly, I was tempted to take this moment for granted… I was tempted to remind our readers at EFM that we have a long way to go. But instead, I stood back and was very very thankful for the moment.
My husband and I – and consequently, my children – live a little bit in the public eye. As a writer and memoirist, I’ve chronicled funny and poignant stories from our family’s lives in two books, and as a conservative activist I’ve taken my children to various political events across the Southeast. In 2006 at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, a reporter for Newsweek interviewed my son and discovered he was skipping kindergarten for the conference. “Mitt Romney, however, is pro-education,” I made sure to note. In 2008, my kids heard speeches by all of the GOP Presidential candidates – they were so young then, I had to distract them when the candidates talked about hot button cultural issues like abortion and gay rights. (We hadn’t had those talks yet.) Now, four years later, they’re far more aware of the issues and are frequently the only school aged children at these conferences.
(It’s not that I necessarily want my kids to live and breathe politics, rather I simply would prefer to have them with me than with a babysitter.)
This Presidential campaign cycle is very different for our family than the one in 2008. This time around, we have a four-year-old daughter we adopted from Ethiopia two years ago. Now that she’s a part of our family, she too has been to political gatherings with a big bag of crayons and coloring books to get her through the speeches. For example here is her CSPAN debut when my husband won the Ronald Reagan Award at CPAC, here she got to meet Gov. Romney, and she’s attended book signings with the Palins.
Because we’ve had the audacity to appear in public with our family, we’ve been getting hate mail from liberals who are deeply offended that a white family would raise a black child (the Huffington Post posted a video of Naomi and me at CPAC and it generated more than 1,000 comments, many of them utterly vile). Usually, I laugh at baseless criticism and it inspires me to work even harder at artfully annoying my critics. But when I get accused of actually harming my daughter by daring to raise her, it infuriates me. See, for example, an excerpt from tonight’s Facebook message:
“I feel so sorry for your little girl! She has a hard complex life ahead of her! She should not be raised by people who vote against her best interests.”
(It was longer and much more offensive.)
What is that, dear reader? You don’t understand how my family traveling to a poverty stricken African tribal area to take a starving, abandoned girl into our American family and loving her as fiercely and deeply as we love our biological children could be considered a bad thing? Well, see, you don’t realize that my family is…. how can I put this politely…. Republican. We are white conservatives, and the little girl we got from Africa is black. While most won’t come out and say they wish we’d left her in Africa to starve rather than be exposed to conservatism, I’m not sure what other conclusion to draw.
As Christians, we believe we should take care of orphans, to give fathers to the fatherless. We didn’t adopt to save the world, or to politically clone ourselves, or to annoy Democrats. We did it because children need loving parents, a warm bed, and good food (and, yes, a Happy Meal counts). We did it because as a two-year-old she weighed only 14 pounds. (Of course, as is frequently the case with adoption, we got her thinking we were preserving her life, we soon discovered that we’re the ones who are blessed by her presence.)
Are my husband and I Republicans? Yes. And we also love our little black child. I’m learning, for example, how to braid hair with colorful beads, I’m learning which colors look good against her chocolate colored skin tone, and I’ll teach her about her country of origin right after she learns her ABCs.
But to all of you liberals who are concerned I’m going to indoctrinate our children with conservative ideas? Rest assured I’m doing everything within my power to make sure all three of our kids grow up in the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
You can’t limit or dictate her political options or her cultural values just because of her skin color, and your constant criticism shows that you are less concerned about the truly poor and more concerned about propagating your narrow and destructive identity politics.
So, yes, I’m a white Christian conservative Republican raising a black child whom I love with my whole heart.
Deal with it.
UPDATE: David’s been reading my article, the comments, and the other online discussions it’s spawned and has weighed in with his own thoughts. Check out
For example, you get a new car, but a hail storm put dents in the hood the first week. Or, you love your job but it takes so much time away from your family. Or you get a new puppy but now you can’t leave the house for more than a few hours without worrying about the thing. Or you have a good friend, but hurt her feelings with a stray comment you didn’t mean. (Or, worse, something you did mean!)
We live in a fallen world and things just are rarely perfect.
However, today was a near perfect day for us Evangelicals for Mitt. Charles, David, and I (along with some dear friends) began this Romney adventure many years ago in 2006. When we saw Santorum approaching the podium to suspend his campaign this afternoon, we all began e-mailing each other little snippets from the past seven years. David reminisced about a time when we sat in my parents’ living room in Paris, Tennessee telling people from my hometown church about a guy a named Mitt. He’s going to be our President one day, we told them. Yes, M-i-t-t. Mitt. Like the catcher’s mitt. And by the way, we need you to go vote for him in a straw poll in Memphis.
Charles reminded us of a term we developed at some point along the way. I once described Charles as “unflappable,” and he was trying to protest. Instead of finding the appropriately opposite word, he simply made one up. Ever since then, we’ve described people as “flappable,” “flapped,” or “flappalicious.”
I reminded them of the time I told the Romneys – after Gov. Romney dropped out of the 2008 campaign and David was in Iraq – “sure, I’m a great skier!” (If you don’t know that story, buy this book, or this one for the full, embarrassing tale.)
This afternoon, we went back and forth for several hours, savoring Santorum’s concession before the real fight against Obama begins.
Wait… but it wasn’t really a concession, was it? Even though I was happy, I couldn’t help notice some glaring omissions from Santorum’s speech.
For one, he never mentioned Gov. Romney’s name.
He definitely didn’t ask his supporters to unite behind the nominee.
What about the fact that he didn’t “drop out,” he merely “suspended?”
Plus, when he was defeated in Pennsylvania by a Democrat in 2006, he graciously bowed out and conceded defeat to Bob Casey. He even asked his supporters to give his opponent a round of applause, chastised them when they weren’t enthusiastic enough, and offered cooperation with Pennsylvanian’s new senator. “Wouldn’t it be nice if he’d done that this time?” someone asked me on Facebook.
Well, it would’ve. In a perfect world, he would’ve acted like Gov. Romney did when he conceded to Sen. McCain. Toby Harnden reminded us how that went down: “…when Romney dropped out, he not only endorsed his rival a week later but went to work for him.”
But here’s the thing, my Romney supporting friends. We’ve been waiting for a long time for “the moment.” You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? That one moment when everyone must acknowledge that Gov. Romney is “the guy.” That day when everyone unanimously looks at us, and says, “You were right.” When news anchors report, “Gov. Romney is the GOP nominee.” When we never hear the word “presumptive” again. When we can finally breathe a sigh of relief after years of work.
Today was that day. No, it wasn’t perfect, and there were no fireworks. (I gave you guys some in the above photo!) But this isn’t a perfect world, Rick Santorum isn’t the perfect candidate, and he’s not even a perfect man. Guess what? Neither is Mitt and neither are you.
Let’s don’t let the fact that Rick Santorum wasn’t as gracious as he should’ve been ruin it. He’ll eventually get on board, after he tends to his family. After he has a few days to calm down. After he tends to his wounded pride.
None but the most politically attentive will remember his speech today. Normal people will just remember that a good guy fought a hard battle, had major family issues, and dropped out before eventually coming around and supporting Gov. Romney.
Do you know what you’ll remember? That today was the end of the end of the GOP race and the beginning of the end of President Obama’s first — and last! — term. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’d hoped it would feel, don’t let anything ruin it for you! Today is our day. Let’s savor it for a few hours longer, before the general campaigning begins.
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The fight for the Republican presidential nomination appeared closer to a conclusion as Newt Gingrich on Sunday all but conceded to Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum continued facing a money shortage in his home state of Pennsylvania, where he has two weeks to make a last stand before the primary.
Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, called Mr. Romney “far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” during a TV appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” adding he would throw his support behind the front-runner if Mr. Romney secured the requisite number of GOP convention delegates.
Mr. Gingrich, who early this year briefly held a lead over his Republican rivals in nationwide polls, spoke of his campaign in the past tense, saying, “I’m glad I did this,” but “it turned out to be much harder than I thought.”
Read the rest here.
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