Dear Mitt Romney,
He wrote dozens of letters to the editor. He wrote letters to company presidents and city councilmen. He probably wrote letters to presidential candidates, as well. I can picture him sitting at his old drop-front desk in the dining room with his black-rimmed glasses slipping low on his nose as he composed these letters first in pencil to get the wording and spelling just right, then painstakingly copied them in ink, hand-printing each letter and word. Only his distinctive signature was written in cursive. My dad can barely form that signature now. He is 85 years old, and has Alzheimer’s disease. He lives in an assisted-living facility. I am writing this letter for him. I am honored to do so.
It is no surprise that my dad was immediately drafted into the army upon his graduation from high school in 1945. The war ended while he was still in basic training, and my dad was doubly fortunate in that he never saw active combat, and that through his service he became eligible to attend college under the G.I. Bill. I guess you might consider that a government handout, but it was crucial to my dad as he didn’t have a wealthy father to subsidize him through his college years and early married life. He didn’t have a father at all at that point in his life. His father died when he was nine years old, leaving my grandmother to raise her son and two daughters as best she could through the years of the Great Depression.
After receiving a degree in engineering from Ohio University, my dad worked all his adult life, though it wasn’t always easy for him. I remember accompanying him to the employment bureau where he stood in line and waited his turn to receive the funds that bought food and clothing for our family, and paid our rent when he had been laid off. But all those years that he did work – and there were many, many of them – he paid taxes and he paid into social security, believing that those funds would be there for him; that he had earned the right to use them in his old age.
Now you call my father a slacker, a “victim”. Someone who can’t take “personal responsibility” for his life. My dad would not appreciate your characterization of him, Mr. Romney, and would use a few choice words to describe you. I am a more polite letter writer than my father, and will not share those words with you. I will only say, shame on you, sir. You clearly do not possess the empathy, humility, or understanding to ever serve as president of the United States.
Anne Fischer Mancine
P.S. The real irony of the situation – and who doesn’t love true irony? – is that if my father was still capable of voting, he would probably vote for you. Can you imagine that?