If there is one thing we’re all used to hearing from grizzled Vietnam vets, it is probably “Well, I may have an ass full of shrapnel, but at least I never had to travel around France annoying people during dinner!”, right? Because being a Mormon Missionary and risking life and limb in an unwinnable war are basically the same thing, or so says Ann Romney. They’re just “different” ways of serving.
I’m having a little bit of trouble getting around my very visceral reaction to this statement. To be honest, my face is a little bit firey on behalf of a lot of people near and dear to me. I want to make some kind of joke about how I really can’t figure out how Mitt Romney selling real estate on the planet Kolob to the French was actually helping anyone out whatsoever, but I cannot get past how absolutely sick this statement makes me. It’s basically the equivalent of someone saying “I had to stay at a totally gross hostel one time in Berlin while I was backpacking through Europe, so I can so relate…” in a conversation about the Holocaust.
I called my Uncle, a Vietnam Vet and one of my favorite people on the planet, to ask him what he thought. I’d imagined he’d be furious, but he just seemed really perplexed about how someone who lived through that period could ever say anything like that. Because even people who didn’t go to Vietnam were losing people every day—they lost friends and family members. It was a terrible time for everyone. Or maybe just for people who weren’t especially rich.
I highly recommend reading about Mitt Romney’s missionary trip to France, and then comparing and contrasting that with the horror stories your relatives have surely told you about serving in Vietnam. Or Iraq. Or anywhere. Because, oh my god, one time he got into a fight! And it was cramped in the rooms! And he could barely ever call his parents! And they were rejected all the time because the mean French people didn’t want to join their religion and wear their stupid blessed undergarments and stop drinking wine! Quelle horreur!
Dancing horses aside, if anything should convince you that the Romneys are devastatingly out of touch, it should be this viciously ignorant statement. If they want to ride around on bicycles with their ties and their backpacks preaching the good word of a 16 year old con-artist and sci-fi enthusiast—more power to them! Enjoy! But kind of not the same thing as being drafted into a war halfway across the world and ending up with one leg, an ass full of shrapnel, or dead because of it. Just saying.