This past weekend I watched MITT, a documentary of Mitt Romney running for and eventually losing the Republican presidential nomination to John McCain in 2008, and then picking up to when he was running for president against Barack Obama. My wife Christina was out of town and our kitten was sleeping on my arm so I didn’t have much to do and I didn’t have the heart to move the cat. I’ve also never watched a movie by myself, and since I don’t really think a documentaries count as movies, I can still pretend that never watching a movie by myself is somewhat of an accomplishment.
As I watched, I was struck by a few things about Romney that I thought were pretty interesting.
First, I really admired what seems to be a genuine commitment to his faith. Especially with so many politicians historically claiming that their faith is important to them, but much of what they say and do says otherwise. Now I have significant theological differences with Romney as he is a Mormon and I am not. And I know you really can’t tell too much about how significant someone’s faith is to them in small snippets of a film. But they must have prayed enough times that the documentary showed multiple instances of him praying with his family. Along with him stating to a few family members at one point that him being a Mormon “was not going to change” no matter the negative publicity it may have brought.
Even as someone who hopes that he would one day trust in Jesus alone for his salvation, it was refreshing to see he that his faith was really a foundation for him.
Secondly, it was surprising to see how much he loved his family. I think it would be hard to argue that Romney was simply on his best behavior because he knew he was being filmed. I’m sure he had gotten used to being constantly filmed and the stress of running for president is too great for him to always be focused on trying to look good. But he really did seem to care deeply for his wife, children, and grandchildren. It as clear that he really valued his family and prioritized them even while running for president.
Last, I was quite fascinated by his willingness to listen and take advice from those who quite honestly knew very little about politics, how he should debate, what to say in a speech, etc. That humility is so rare to see in our society today. It is so easy to look at those who know very little of the situation we are in and simply tune them out because we think they have nothing significant to add. I know I am very guilty of that.
No matter who you voted for in 2012, it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy as they showed him and his family finally realizing he would lose on election night. It is so easy to forget the human element when we get so wrapped up in a politicians policies and everything politics brings. At the end of the day, these people are just that: people.
I know there is only so much a documentary can truly show about a person, but Romney’s humility (at least as it was portrayed in the film) was something I would love to emulate in my own life. If you are someone really into politics, or if you are someone who is just interested in seeing more behind the scenes (which is why I watched it) of a presidential campaign, this is something I would recommend watching.