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.
I’m not surprised, but Provo businesses are blacklisting students that participated in a protest of Cheney, courtesy of Joe Vogel:
Now BYU Alternative Commencement has received an email from a local businesswoman named Denise Harman, who claims that all BYU students participating in activities against Dick Cheney are being tracked by local businesses. “Many businesses are noting the names involved,” she says.
Why are business tracking the names of soon to be graduating students? “You are being tagged as trouble makers and added to massive ‘Do Not Hire’ lists,” says Denise Harman, who hires hundreds of graduates every year.
She adds curtly, “Just thought you should know that activities have consequences.”
Indeed they do. How utterly childish. Shows you that residents of Provo have a stronger allegiance to one man than they do to democracy or even free speech. I wonder, if a day comes when those protesting rules against Mormonism get blacklisted what they will say…