Mitt Romney in France, not Vietnam

November 15, 2007 at 1:14 pm | Posted in American politics, BYU, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, Vietnam | 4 Comments

New York Times has a fascinating piece today about Mitt Romney’s time in France. His mission came during the height of the Vietnam war, and of course that war affected his relations with the French, who mostly slammed their doors in Mitt’s face when learning he was American. One of the most fascinating quotes about that time comes from one of his companions, Byron Hansen who said:

Mr. Romney described it as “a very interesting firsthand view of a very volatile setting.” But his friends say the strikes were terrifying and reinforced their respect for authority. “The social system failed. The country came to a stop,” said Byron Hansen, another missionary and now a car dealer in Brigham City, Utah. “It affected me and I am sure it affected Mitt.”

The missionaries had often met with hostility over the Vietnam War. “Are you an American?” was a common greeting, Mr. Romney recalled, followed by, “‘Get out of Vietnam! Bang!’ The door would slam.” But such opposition only hardened their hawkish views. “We felt the French were pretty weak-kneed,” Mr. Hansen said.

Most of the missionaries, though, were also relieved that their service meant a draft deferment. “I am sorry, but no one was excited to go and get killed in Vietnam,” Mr. Hansen said, acknowledging, “In hindsight, it is easy to be for the war when you don’t have to worry about going to Vietnam.”

It is easy to be for the war when you don’t have to worry about going to Vietnam. Indeed it is.

Also fascinating was the steps BYU’s administration took to fight the dastardly scourge of liberalism on BYU’s campus:

Mr. Romney switched to Brigham Young from Stanford to be near his high school girlfriend, now wife, Ann. But the move also continued his isolation from the upheaval of the era. Brigham Young was one of the few places where students had demonstrated in support of the war in the mid-1960s. When Mr. Romney attended, the university president enlisted students to spy on supposedly liberal professors, and the handful of students who displayed peace signs in their windows were told to remove them. Although liberal groups were banned, a chapter of George Wallace’s American Independent Party flourished.

I’ve always wondered about BYU administration folks. I mean, here they send 19 year old wet-behind-the-ears boys and 21-year old girls to save the souls of men, yet they cannot trust these same kids on personal hygiene and political views. How sad.


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  1. Glenn Greenwald adds some salient points as usual.

  2. Wow. The part that got me the most was the spying and telling people to remove peace signs!!! I would have revolted in a major way if someone told me to take down my peace sign. Heck, I would have erected a peace sign just because I was being told to take it down. Simply amazing that this was church administration that was doing this kind of crap.

  3. […] Mitt Romney in France, not Vietnam […]

  4. I’m a 2-tour veteran of the Viet Nam War, serving in 1966 and 1970. I joined in 1963, and volunteered for Viet Nam both times. I take John Kerry’s acts of treason – he gave aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war, see his testimony before Congress – personally. Him I hate. I view the draft-dodging of Bill Clinton, Romney and Guiliani merely with contempt, and at least Clinton never pretended affection for the military. Chicken hawks are just one step up from Kerry.

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