Dear Sen. Mitt Romney: I don’t have your address and this goes far beyond the allotted 280 words on Twitter, but needs to be said.
Thank you for your leadership and stewardship in upholding the tenets of the Constitution. Thank you for your support of soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Thank you for your authorship of a new chapter in American history. Thank you for your penmanship of a new book in African American history.
When you ran for office in Utah, you did not know that you would be making history, but you did. After 233 years without a Black woman on the bench, your vote to confirm Jackson conveyed that African American women are worthy and deserving to see, seek and secure their highest professional goals.
In a previous article in support of Jackson, I challenged senators to demonstrate some John McCain courage, Ruth Bader Ginsberg gumption and John Lewis leadership. You, sir, demonstrated a fourth quality which I now call, with sincere respect, Mitt Romney righteousness.
Sometimes doing the right thing can be a test in fortitude. Making the right decision does not always fall within party lines but instead can require us to stand outside of those lines, holding fast to just and principled ethics. Without knowing the risks or the rewards, you made the right decision and did the right thing. Your vote has placed you on the right side of history.
Sen. Romney, I want you to know that you did more than cast a vote to support Jackson. With your vote, the sun pierced through the clouds. The stars lit up the dark sky. The African American community can now see the North Star. Those who were once exhausted are now revived. Rejection and denial might give way to acceptance. Hope perches on the scales of the Supreme Court. Justice, which once seemed elusive, may now be available to all.
It is not lost on us that you are the only Republican male who voted to confirm Jackson. In our jubilant celebration of her, we also thank you.
One day, when the record is retrieved from the archives, your name will be listed among those who cast their vote in favor of Jackson’s confirmation. When Black history is read to future generations, we will lay our eyes upon your name as one who supported the first African American woman appointed to the Supreme Court. When American history is taught, it will tell the story of how one white Republican man supported the ascension of an African American woman to the highest court in the land.
What I admire about you, Sen. Romney, is that you exercise integrity, faith and courage. You have not been afraid to go it alone, be an outlier or an anomaly, while standing by your convictions. You have taken on the risk of public ridicule, political backlash and party criticism. That kind of integrity, fidelity and courage resides within a small group of leaders that include President Russell Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, NAACP President Derrick Johnson and former President Barack Obama.
On the day Jackson was confirmed, the tears that fell from our eyes were not from social wounds and pain as in the past, but rather of heart-swollen, rarefied pride and joy. Thank you for giving us a little relief and peace — the enduring, sustaining, comforting peace that passes all understanding.
There is a cloud of witnesses, who did not live to see this day, that are celebrating in heaven. There are children yet unborn who will be thanking your children. And let us hope that there are learners who will be adopting the practices of Mitt Romney’s righteous leadership.
There is a saying that “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”
Thank you, Sen. Romney, for entering our journey, during a season and for a reason that will last lifetimes. Thank you for your membership in the movement, your friendship in fairness and your kinship in the kingdom of Christ.
The Rev. Theresa A. Dear is a national board member of the NAACP and a Deseret News contributor.