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Our democracy's deep roots here

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Our democracy's deep roots here

By Mitt Romney, July 24, 2004


WITH THOUSANDS of Democratic delegates and political activists descending on Boston this week, you won't find a happier person than I to have so many proud Democrats visiting our great Commonwealth.


Yes, I'm a Republican, and I support George Bush's reelection. I'm also the guy who thinks John Kerry should resign his Senate seat while he campaigns -- much like Bob Dole did in 1996 -- because of his poor Senate attendance record. But one of the blessings of living in a democratic nation is the ability of its people to participate in the political process. It is a right we cherish and will not surrender no matter what foreign challenges we may face. Plus, I'm proud of Massachusetts and happy to show it off to delegates. Our American democracy has deep roots here.


It was in a spot roughly 30 miles south of Boston, 384 years ago, that a small group of Pilgrims -- even before setting foot on dry land -- signed the Mayflower Compact, creating their own government. They knew in order to be legitimate, government must derive its power from the consent of the governed. There the seeds of democracy were planted.


It is with this history and purpose in mind that we have taken extraordinary precautions in cooperation with local and federal agencies to ensure a successful Democratic Convention. From the day that Senator Ted Kennedy and Mayor Tom Menino announced that the convention would be held here, we've worked together to make it a memorable event.


Of course, following the success of the Boston convention and a vigorous and respectful campaign, I hope your nominee goes on to ignominious defeat.


But that's a story for another day. For now, enjoy yourself, reconnect with our nation's history, visit some of the scenic landscapes and beautiful vistas outside our capital city -- from the coastal beauty of Cape Cod to the rustic charm of the Berkshires. And keep a few things in mind.


First, our nation is not as polarized as people think. Late night watchers of cable talk shows might get the impression that America has been torn apart by politics, that there is no issue too small over which to pick a fight. But we are not permanently encamped in blue states and red states. Massachusetts, John Kerry's home state, has elected a Republican governor in each of the last four statewide elections. It even voted for Ronald Reagan not once, but twice. Our Commonwealth is open-minded.


Second, the great experiment in democracy undertaken by our forbears is still going strong, despite the partisan rancor of every election year. I'm struck by how the great American experiment continues, and that around the corner is always a better day. Americans -- those born here and newcomers recently arrived on our shores -- believe in life, liberty, hard work, individualism, entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and faith in God. What great invention will next emerge from our brilliant minds? What life-saving cure is now being developed in our laboratories? What new frontier awaits our exploration? Sure, like any family, we may have our squabbles, but I pity the outsider who picks a fight with us.


Third, since our nation is at war with terrorists, you will see extra security all around you. Don't be deterred. Visit our restaurants and shops at historic Faneuil Hall. Walk the Freedom Trail. Take a ride on the swan boats. My experience running the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the first major worldwide event after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, taught me that while we must plan for safety, we must also live our normal lives. In that resides our greatest victory, something to be cherished by Republicans and Democrats alike.


And after all the speeches are made, after all the balloons are dropped, when the election is finally over, the people of Boston -- like Americans everywhere -- will go back to work driving cabs, toiling on the factory floor, sweeping the streets, and teaching our youngsters in the classroom.


Ronald Reagan once spoke of Americaand all she represents as a "shining city upon a hill" that we must "protect and pass on lovingly" to future generations. And so we do, here in Boston and next month in New York City when the Republicans hold their political convention.


Finally, I know there are many people in town this week who claim to know who's going to win it all in the fall. To them, I say: Don't count out the Red Sox.


Mitt Romney is the governor of Massachusetts.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

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