Last May a man stood in front of his bathroom mirror in the dead of night, looking at his face and despising himself for a coward.
The next day he began contacting media journalists about the video that he had recorded: the famous "47%" speech that Candidate Mitt Romney had made in Florida.
That man was Scott Prouty, who had been bartending at the event and video-recording Romney's speech. He did not conceal his video camera, nor did the videography team that was there, nor did a number of people who took clips and photos with their telephones. There was no prohibition of cameras that evening.
Midway into the speech, Prouty began to realize that what he was getting on tape was a bombshell for the Republican campaign. But he took it home and put it away, worried about his emotional reaction, doubting that he ought to become some kind of a crusader or something.
Weeks later, as Romney continued merrily giving his speeches and contradicted what was on his video, Prouty stood before that bathroom mirror and vowed that he would do the right thing.
He would do the right thing for the people who couldn't afford $50,000.00 for a ticket to a dinner and hear Romney's true attitude towards the American people.
He would do the right thing for the people who were listening to Romney's stump speech and tended to believe that he was the nice guy that his wife says he is.
He would do the right thing, and he did, and Romney's reaction was to accuse him of releasing "a snippet" of video, hinting that it was edited and out of context. Republicans know all about that, of course, with their ACORN video and others.
Romney went on to say that if the whole video were available, everyone would understand that he was not the callous vulture capitalist who destroyed the economy of Freeport, Illinois, or the cynic who "gave away" the $5000.00 worth of goods that his campaign bought at Walmart and then pretended to collect and donate to disaster relief--even though the Red Cross tells the public repeatedly to give money rather than send items.
Prouty decided that if Romney wanted it all out there, it was fine with him--let's do it. So he did release the entire video, and the course of the election of 2012 was changed. It led to the meltdown on election night, after the Republicans came face to face with the reality that millions upon millions of dollars had bought them exactly nothing.
Republican voter suppression had not served them well either, no matter how much gerrymandering, roll purges, identification laws, registrations hurdles, disinformation (in Arizona especially), early voting cutbacks, unequal resources or caging lists they could muster. Their actions simply aroused the American people to get out and vote, and as they stood in lines for up to 6 hours, the specter of Republican defeat began to coalesce into the news that was so decisive that the projections were complete on election night.
In my case, the Latino residents of Arizona got the word out about the correct day to go and vote, despite official state mailings that gave the date of the election as two days after the November date.
Little did Ann Romney know that her wish that everyone could know what Mitt was really like had gone "from her lips to God's ears." Well before the election--soon enough for a whole lot of people to change their minds--the American people did know what Mitt was really like.
Romney can be a nice man. He can be a good husband and father. But as a businessman he is a vulture, and as Prouty mentioned tonight on The Ed Show, a news/commentary program from MSNBC, the only thing that could redeem his reputation would be to spend some time rebuilding the lives that he took down in Freeport, Illinois, or any other place where he sold companies out from under their employees and left them to fend for themselves.
I took two things away from the wrap-up of what happened and who did it, tonight on MSNBC. One is the impact that one person can have if they are convinced that they have to do what they have to do.
But the other is the disappointment that there is so little of this spirit evident today. We can learn why the "atheist church" is gaining ground in the U. K.--people see that they can live perfectly moral and upright lives without Christianity or any other religion.
Where are the evangelicals who have Christ in their hearts, who tell their bigoted pastors that they will no longer tolerate their treasonous hatred and homophobia?
Where are the Christians who will inundate Washington, D. C.'s telephone lines demanding that their Republican representatives stop their obstruction on pain of recall?
Where are the Christians who are calling their state capitols demanding that Republicans stop overturning democratic city governments in Michigan?
Where are the Christians who are so serene in their faith that they do not feel that it must be forced on everyone through civil law and public education?
Remember what Candidate Obama said: "We are the people that we have been waiting for."