By now you’re asking what all that preamble has to do with the here and now. Mitt’s faith is protected by the Constitution and proudly so, but there are still political commandments to be fulfilled that could sacrifice everyone else’s rights in favour of a literal priesthood possessing the whole kit and caboodle.
To soothe doubts that compel us to minimize, we’re investigating how far the apple falls from the tree. We’ve already seen what patriarchs Parley, Helaman, Rey, Miles Sr., Miles Jr., Gaskell, George S., Marion, Vernon, Henry and Spencer have managed to accomplish in the spirit of Mormonism. Next is George W. Romney of more modern times, in his role as High Priest and Governor; similar to what Brigham Young achieved while in the process of establishing Utah. This is the example set by good ole dad, for his progeny Mitt to aspire and continue.
In tying the past to the present it would be an injustice to overlook the “W” in George Romney’s name. It hails from Charles Heinrich Wilcken, who shared the head of family on the maternal side along with Grandpa Parley (see family tree). At first the German connection appeared to be an anomaly, but research revealed why he would rank so high as to warrant a namesake in the formidable Romney clan.
Charles Wilcken was raised in Holstein and joined the German army when rebellion struck to decide if the area would break away from Denmark. It was a brutal, uncivil war that resulted in great atrocities; including mass graves and hand to hand combat where even women would need to fight for their lives. Grandpa Charles discovered heroism and found the idea of battle suited his personality quite well, so when the war ended he was disheartened and eventually immigrated to New York.
Speaking very little English, he joined the American army for employment and received orders to march on Utah almost immediately after arriving. The Saints refused to back down on polygamy in spite of federal law and the government was taking heavy losses in light of the Mormon’s scorched earth policy. They continued to set everything around the troops ablaze so they’d have no food, supplies or livestock to carry them through the winter.
The goal was to remove Brigham Young as theocratic governor and Grandpa Charles began on the side of the US President. It was not long that he found himself at odds with American culture and upon reaching Salt Lake he defected to the Saints’ militia.
The next bit comes to us from the Juvenile Instructor, published as the first American children’s magazine designed for teaching future leaders of the LDS religion. This was written as a series by none other than Charles Wilcken and circulated amongst Bishops for use in Mormon Sunday School,
“They acted hostile toward us and as punishment we were permitted to sack the town, or in other words allowed to do what we liked for three hours. During these three hours the people suffered terribly…. The saloons and whisky shops were visited first and in a short time almost every man was drunk or under the influence of liquor. This of course, made them (us)more wild and cruel. Houses and furniture were demolished, valuables taken, women ravaged and all manner of cruelties and wickedness were committed. If anyone interfered he was simply cut down. A scene like this beggars description and the people upon whom such a fate falls are indeed to be pitied.”
Reading further explains how Grandpa Charles was disgusted with the un-regimented nature of American forces, especially when he arrived in Utah to see the uniformity of Mormons in battle. Along with their military cohesion he was wooed by theo-democracy and now his story is shared with children to teach Mormon pride and their superiority over Israel,
“As a rule, the American army is made up of the scum of the nation – a lot of men that are worthless to society. The drunkard, the loafer and the depraved find, when they are at their rope’s end, an asylum in the army and become the “defenders of their country”…. Everything was so unlike German – no discipline, no care of dress, no punctuality, no order – it seemed to me more like a mob than a regular army and I soon became disgusted with my situation.
(Upon meeting the Saints of Salt Lake)
I pitied them because I thought…. they were under a religious spell…. Little did I think that I should soon change my mind and become as zealous a defender of the power as they were…. I had made up my mind to cast my lot with the Latter Day Saints….
I frequently compare our position as Latter Day Saints to a well organized army. We have our commander in chief, our generals, colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants…. All of us have enlisted under the banner of Jehovah and made a covenant with Him, to serve Him with all our might, mind and strength. As good soldiers we should love our officers, have implicit confidence in them and yield obedience to their wishes and commands. They receive their orders from the great Captain of our salvation (Jesus) for our good, for our benefit and for our safety….
A Latter Day Saint should train himself to be blind to the faults and failings of his superiors…. Our only safety and deliverance from our enemies is based upon the condition of obedience…. But if we are disobedient and instead of keeping His laws break them, we must suffer the consequences…. My opinion is there will be no deliverance until Israel will humble themselves, repent of their sins and do as they are told.”
Before joining the Mormon militia and seeding the Romney family, Charles Wilcken received the Iron Cross for his bravely mentioned works on behalf of the German Reich. This is the same medal that was notoriously adorned by the chest of Adolph Hitler and I hesitantly emphasize their similar feelings toward a certain ethnic people.
Moving on, the heir to this name was deemed a moderate Republican. George Wilcken Romney claimed to support human rights and won his place as Governor of Michigan. During that time he declined political business on Sundays, in keeping with the Mormon holy day. This also allowed him to decline a march with Martin Luther King, in contrast to professing his support of the civil rights movement. In public life he rode the middle ground between electoral speeches made to gain support and conflicts with faith regarding the perception of African-Americans’ sinful origin. For this reason it is prudent to look at a politician’s actions in comparison to their words.
Under Romney’s watch the Detroit Riots occurred and police brutality against Blacks resulted in the beating of men, women and children. Others met a harsher fate and many were shot dead. Caucasian residents had previously erected a wall to bar them from entering their communities along Eight Mile Road. This is the same place Eminem tried to revive in our memories with an album and Oscar winning movie of the same title.
Events precipitating the riot included matters of housing, as Blacks were forced to pay much higher rent for much shabbier accommodation than their counterparts. Governor Romney oversaw the bulldozing of their neighbourhoods to make space for freeways that would better provide for his white and delightsome constituents. Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh had been making painstaking progress on the issue of race relations, but Romney fostered an arbitrary relationship with him as well.
On July 24 Romney overrode the mayor’s wishes, not to mention strong arming a reluctant President Lyndon B. Johnson by declaring a state of insurrection. Having already ordered Michigan State Police to take part, he now obligated federal troops to descend upon the Black and sympathetic masses. This violence spawned the type of mayhem that lives on in the darkest of infamy, to become a subject of study in most public schools.
From there, the governor attempted a run to replace Johnson as president. He was favoured to beat Nixon in the Republican primaries but bowed out before questions of his Mormon faith could become a factor. Richard Nixon of “I am not a crook” and Watergate fame succeeded in winning the White House.
Before his subsequent and scandalous resignation, he named George Romney as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Part of the mandate instructed HUD to desegregate Black housing and he was said to embrace this task with passion. However, implementation of the Fair Housing Act was lacking and George failed to meet with the NAACP or any legislative supporters to see it through.
He did get around to inventing the Ginnie Mae program though, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as integral parts of the working whole. It ushered in government-backed mortgages for low income families, to help pave the way to home ownership for the poor. On the surface it was a great triumph but in two short years and under George’s command, it became entirely defunct. Numerous lawyers and real estate agents were indicted for fraud, as the value of inner city properties was inflated and loans were made to black families who could never afford them. This resulted in massive default and left the government on the hook for every cent they owed, due to lacking oversight on the part of HUD. This other scandal was enough to end desegregation efforts and resembles the subprime crash that Obama inherited from Republicans years later.
George Romney also formed the National Recovery Administration. Again it contained a few good principles like putting an end to child labour, but it was deemed unconstitutional for industry price fixing and issues of anti-trust. The NRA placed powers of regulation directly into corporate hands, greater than even congress possessed. This led to increasing costs by a whopping 40 percent, to be borne by customers and played precisely into Romney’s Mormon ideal of “competitive cooperative capitalism”.
Despite the federal government dismantling the organization it continued rebelliously after the fact. In the campaign, if a business failed to support the platform by placing a poster in their storefront, they were punished with calls for boycott. This poster is particularly famous and served as inspiration for the Philadelphia Eagles logo (NFL), but it also inspired the Second New Deal giving unions greater purpose. In essence, this socialism for CEOs resulted in so much backlash that it propelled more democratic minds to enshrine the rights of the workforce.
Looking deeper into the mind of dearest dad we must visit the National Center for Voluntary Action, created by his hand as well. It acted as a clearinghouse of volunteer information to liaise between the private sector and government; as a privately funded entity established by executive order of the president (Nixon). Throughout some ups and downs and replication by George W. Bush, it was eventually merged and translated into the Points of Light foundation with his.
As thanks for conceding to the newer president, George Romney was honoured with the first Lenore and George Romney Award, in celebration of his lifetime achievement. Some may find it odd to win your own blessing, but we’ll leave that as it is. Lenore then became the Points of Light director after her failed Republican bid for senate. The NY Times described her as a faithful, Mormon, stay-at-home mom, who thought the ride to government would be easy with a royal (prophetic) name like Romney to support her ambitions.
Behind the scenes was a different story and one that is yet unknown. This explanation is shared by a Canadian-Korean war veteran, in the official newsletter circulated by the military organization (please see September’s PDF version or non PDF version). The gentleman provides a thorough background, stating he is the true creator of this Romney legacy (Points of Light) and he never received payment, thanks or credit for his work. George accepted the glory and this soldier was never to be mentioned.
Since George was the Governor of Michigan and LDS stake president for Detroit, both political and religious affairs put the Romneys in touch with Canada. Part of his boundary included Ontario, where the famous vacation property is located that managed to spark negative headlines. First was the dog sadly strapped to the roof and then came the irony that Mitt celebrates every Fourth of July at this very cottage across the border.
Americans may not be familiar with the significance of this campaign blunder, but their Canadian cousins attach notoriety to the Beach O’ Pines property as a matter of racial discrimination. The real story hinges on a terrible smudge in their past that resulted in a Supreme Court decision and legislative amendments.
It was 1948 when Mrs. Noble tried to sell her property in the gated community. Upon closing the transaction however, the purchaser’s attorney discovered a socially outdated and pre-existing covenant that would serve to cause him trouble.
“The lands and premises herein described shall never be sold, assigned, transferred, leased, rented or in any manner whatsoever alienated to, and shall never be occupied or used in any manner whatsoever by any person of the Jewish, Hebrew, Semitic, Negro or coloured race or blood, it being the intention and purpose of the Grantor, to restrict the ownership, use, occupation and enjoyment of the said recreational development, including the lands and premises herein described, to persons of the white or Caucasian race not excluded by this clause.”
Mr. Wolf, the purchaser, was of Russian-Jewish descent and Mrs. Noble wasn’t happy with the covenant against him either. At the height of the appeal, Beach O’ Pines residents hired their own attorney to protect these oppressive rights on behalf of the exclusive community that favoured them. It was then George Romney moved the family in and considering the high profile nature for Canadian human rights, he could not have missed knowing about the bitter fight against them. In fact, he would have purchased his home with the identical covenant on it.
As property owners the Romneys were covered by the legal umbrella arguing in favour of maintaining the race restrictions. They bought at the very moment in Canadian history, when a gated establishment was trying to prevent progress from happening. The case wasn’t settled until November 1950 and well after the Fourth of July Mitt would have spent there. It’s a battle the group doesn’t wish to speak about and a victory the Law Times calls Ontario’s dark legal past.
One of George’s last major contributions came through Brigham Young University. It was established by the first Saints of Utah and continues to be a Mormon facility, where all the Romneys graduated and then administrated or provided seminars. It contains the Marriot School of Management thanks to J. Willard Marriott, for whom Mitt Romney is named after. It also houses the Romney Institute of Public Management to instruct religious degrees in political science, as Brigham Young would have wanted.
In the next installment we’ll examine the empire of lucrative Church Business; followed by Insider Trading and finally what it means to the ultimate Church Power that Mitt wields on behalf of the Mormon Party of America. There’s a reason he won’t open the books and you’re on the cusp of understanding why.