so mitt romney has all but won the republican nomination. hardly a surprising result, not really a heartening one. while on current polling, he's behind mr obama, that's after months of republican candidates hating on each other and spending millions to do it (or having other people spend it & do it via those PAC things). once the party rallies behind their candidate, and they will - as will the big money, i don't think it's going to be such an easy win.
and on the other side, the democrats will start their own campaign in earnest, part of which will involve having their own PACs and their own attacks on romney. they will have to do that, simply because that's the way the system is now set up and because the other side will be doing the same.
the thing that worries me though, is that the attacks on mr romney will involve a whole sale attack on the mormon religion and everything mormon. i expect that mormons will presented to us as the wierdest thing ever, and we will be encouraged to dislike them. i find that really problematic.
it's not that i agree with mormonism or most of the aspects of the faith. it's not that i think religions are above scrutiny and critique. but i am against vilification of a whole group of people as a political tool and a political attack. because you know what it reminds me of? the whole political attack on mr obama, which is actively continuing even now, for being a secret muslim. and the only way that attack could possibly work is if everyone believes that being muslim is a terrible thing, and that all muslims are evil people. that attack involves a whole heap of distortion, misdirection, and misinformation that is unrelenting and has a widespread impact on the lives of ordinary people in a way that is incredibly harmful.
mormons aren't likely to get that level of an attack, for several reasons. one is that in america they are mostly white and they sort of come under the category of christian, so they have the privilege that comes with that. also, the republicans won't be doing the attacking, and they have shown themselves to be particulary vitriolic and not overly concerned with the truth.
but on the other hand, looking at the deeply misogynist and nasty attacks on hilary clinton that came from the left, when she was running against mr obama for the democratic nomination, i'm not particularly hopeful. in fact, i'm rather dreading it.
there are plenty of reasons to attack mr romney that are related solely to his own personal characteristics and abilities (or the lack thereof). from the things he says, he is clearly out of touch with most americans and the difficulties they face in their day to day lives. he doesn't seem to have much of a clue about women or the issues that are important to them. he has a lot of money, but he hasn't given out any signals that he will be an erstwhile and competent manager of the economy. i could go on and on.
i accept that some of his opinions and even his personal characteristics are as a result of his religious upbringing. they have surely had an influence on his thinking - it's impossible that it would be otherwise. to that extent, it would be acceptable to probe how much of his religious background is going to affect policy development and direction. but again, that's not the major concernt here. the main issue i have is with outright vilification of all mormons, so that people will come to the conclusion that being mormon is a terrible thing, therefore mr romney is a terrible person simply for being one.
that kind of thinking is lazy and bigoted. but it somehow has a lot of widespread appeal. and while it probably won't be said openly, a lot of this campaign is going to have the subtext of mormon vs muslim, no matter how much mr obama tries to assert his christian credentials. political campaigns are never pretty, but somehow i think this is going to be a partucularly ugly one.