Mitt Romney visits with a future voter at a fundraising event in Nantucket,… (Evan Vucc / Associated Press )
Re "Image gap," Aug. 26
It is all well and good that Mitt Romney has a generous side and wrote a $250,000 check to pay off a home loan or pay medical school tuition for a deserving student. However, what about the more than 46 million Americans living in poverty who will never have the opportunity to meet him and benefit from his largesse?
That's why we need a government safety net that aids as many people as possible. We cannot depend on the arbitrary charity of only certain individuals.
Despite Romney's good intentions, his personal acts of charity depend on his own discretion and fall short of equitable distribution of assistance to the most needy.
La Cañada Flintridge
After citing a few examples of Romney's generosity to Bain employees and their children, the article notes that the former Massachusetts governor remains "an enigma to many Americans." Well, whose fault is that?
Instead of covering the many instances of Romney's magnanimity toward others (about which he clearly feels no need to boast) , the mainstream media have chosen to snarkily report ad nauseam on his unreleased tax returns (which he is not required by law to release), his "failed" trip to Europe (during which Romney acted like a president, not a candidate), Ann Romney's dressage horse, his tenure at Bain Capital and the infamous dog in the carrier on the roof of the car.
And the media wonder why Romney remains an "enigma" to so many Americans.
Romney's generosity to his store manager in trouble is a classic example of the Republican "me" form of empathy. His outreach extended to someone in his immediate orbit and who served his self-interest by keeping a critical store in operation. This is similar to the sincere empathy a hunter may have for his loyal hunting dog even while he shoots "anonymous" deer without regret.
In contrast, the Democratic "we" form of empathy extends to those beyond our local orbit and, hopefully, even to those we will never meet and perhaps creatures not even in our own species. This attitude, for example, considers how climate change may affect future generations long after we're gone.
Empathy in any form is precious. But making the distinction between the personal, self-serving variety and the outward, unconditional form is instructive.
I was pleased with the fair coverage you finally gave Romney. According to your article, Romney paid off a loan for a Staples manager so he wouldn't lose his home, worked late at night with his sons helping a colleague move stranded furniture into her house, organized a posse to find a kidnap victim and gave and forgave a loan to the daughter of a deceased Bain Capital employee to send her to medical school.
He also counseled marriage and finances to many couples. As governor, he enacted programs to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in Massachusetts, of all places.
How much more can you "be in touch" with average Americans?
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