On the stump in Iowa, Mitt Romney has been quoting lines from my favorite patriotic song, "America the Beautiful". I'm sure he has every right to use this noble hymn for political expediency . But I think he ought to get the politics of it right. Katherine Lee Bates who wrote the poem ---which was set to Samuel Ward's music--- was anything but a Conservative. She was an English professor---a teacher. Her counterparts in America today are not cut much slack by the Right. She was a feminist. Not a popular figure in contemporarary Republican circles. She believed in God, but was dissatisfied with the institutional churches of her time--- late 19th and early 20th centuries. She lived with another woman who was the love of her life. Now that would ruffle a few feathers in a GOP powwow. She did not advocate war and was vehemently against the imperialism of the Spanish-American War. Unlike the hawkish Neo-Cons. She was a social reformer who yearned to help the impoverished languishing in urban slums. Community organizing got booed at the last Republican Convention, remember?
She fought for the rights of labor, long before collecitve bargaining, the eight-hour day, and the end of child labor. You won't find much about these in the Republican 2012 platform. And some Republicans are even nostalgic about early employment.
But most of all, Mr. Romney ---who says he's been ruminating on Miss Bates's famous words---should weigh and consider these lines from 'America the Beautiful'. "America! America!/ God shed his grace on thee/ Till selfish gain no longer stain/ The banner of the free."
'Selfish gain' is so Republican.