I suppose discussions of 50-year-old “bullying” incidents are just too recent and feature too low of a body count to dwell on much longer. So the Washington Post assignment desk decided that we just haven’t heard enough about the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre. The contemporary “hook” for the story is a look at the lingering effects of the Mormon massacre on a tiny community in Arkansas with ancestral links to the victims. And this has what kind of relevance to the presidential campaign? Not much, it turns out:
And yet, there is scant evidence that Romney’s religion is making much difference in how voters here are thinking about the presidential election and whether they are willing to back the former Massachusetts governor.
“I think the situation right now is more anti-Obama than any other situation,” said Dave Hoover, chairman of the Carroll County Republicans.
Imagine that. Conservative voters are more concerned with replacing a failed president than settling 155-year-old sectarian scores. But if you want to foster an image of Mitt as someone dangerous and different, well then I suppose Mountain Meadows merits mention.
But let’s conduct a thought experiment. What if Mitt Romney were liberal? I can imagine a story beginning something like this:
Debra Young wept as she watched Rick Santorum’s concession speech. The Mormon mother of four felt the weight of history, and she was filled with pride for her faith and for her country.
“Just think,” she said, “Joseph Smith was murdered by a lynch mob, a governor actually issued an extermination order against members of our church, and we were forced to flee across the frontier to save our lives. We have come so far. Our nation has come so far. I truly hope that this election will launch a new era of respect for religious liberty.”
One can dream, I suppose. But in the meantime, we’ll have to content ourselves with pointing out the double standards and wondering why the media finds ancient Mormon misdeeds far more intriguing than, say, the biography and record of our current president.