As a Former Mormon Missionary, Romney’s European Gaffes Were Well Calculated (Die Zeit, Germany)
Is it possible that the apparent gaffes Mitt Romney made visiting Europe and Israel were not gaffes at all – but the calculated fruits of his experience as a missionary in France? For Germany’s Die Zeit, former Mormon and duel U.S.-German citizen Eric T. Hansen writes that if Mitt Romney wins in November, for the first time in a long time perhaps, there will be a U.S. president that really knows Europeans – and not necessarily in a good way.
For Die Zeit, Eric T. Hansen writes in part:
The daily life of a missionary looks like this: Five days a week, from dawn to dusk, you go from door to door. You knock and the door opens. You say, “We’re from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and would like …” The door slams. And on to the next house. And that for two years. The Mormons say, “It builds character,” and it’s true.
From time to time someone does invite you in. It is surprising how many bad things the average German knows about America, and how happy they are to tell Americans about them. During a mission, you get to know Europeans who for hours will reel off our country’s sins and still have enough energy to assure you they are tolerant people and that we Americans really should take a page out of their book.
As recently as the eighties, when I evangelized in Germany, I became used to graffiti slogans like “Ami go home.” Romney walked door to door on the streets of Paris in May 1968, in the middle of the student unrest and Vietnam protests. There he probably heard a lot about how evil his country was.
Later, Romney said that for him, his mission was a period during which, “most of what I was trying to do was rejected.” Even if it doesn’t seem that way: If Romney does win the election in November, there will finally be a man in the White House who knows the Europeans.
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