BYU students gathered around televisions Thursday night to watch Mitt Romney formally accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president and then pledge to restore the American dream.
Since Romney is the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and BYU alumnus to be a presidential candidate for a major party, it is not surprising that many BYU students have been inspired by Romney’s vision to “turn the page” for America.
“Romney’s vision of the America dream is about the fact that if you work hard you get results—you build it,” Kate Keenan said. Keenan is a junior from Los Altos, Calif., studying communications. She worked for the Romney campaign during the summer at the Boston headquarters. “Obama promised that he would create more jobs, and that hasn’t happened, nothing has changed. Romney and Ryan are about creating jobs and going back to the American people, doing what the country was founded on.”
In Tampa on Thursday, cheers erupted as Romney walked down the aisles shaking hands with people on his way to rally the Republican convention. Although he discussed economy, religion, women’s rights, jobs, foreign affairs and taxes, Romney emphasized his goals for a renewal of the American Dream and discussed his vision of a united America.
“The America we all know has been the story of many becoming one,” Romney said, “united to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to preserve the world from unspeakable darkness.”
The popular Twitter hashtag #WeBuiltIt, the theme of the convention, trended all across the country. Here people could share their experiences of the times they built something to better America. Many BYU students participated, as the tag was a representation of an effort to unite the Republican viewpoint and Romney’s speech into one central idea.
“Romney challenged us on Twitter to tell Obama that we take control of our own lives and we reap the rewards,” said Jorden Mortensen, a junior from Florida studying exercise science. Mortensen is a Republican and a supporter of Romney and his candidacy. “Romney’s vision is that we need to take charge of our own lives and take credit for it too.”
In his speech, Romney also focused on his goals to encourage success because of hard work. He also emphasized that he, as president, will keep sight of and implement the values that have built the nation.
“The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, and our faiths,” Romney said. He later stated, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is that I will help you and your family.”
Not only did Romney have the goal to unite, but he also gave many Americans a reason to vote for the Republican Party as he acknowledged the importance of creating jobs in a broken economy.
“I am running for president to help create a better future, a future where everyone who wants a job can find a job,” Romney said. He then announced his plan to create 12 million jobs for the American people.
Despite contention from Ron Paul, Romney and his campaign team were confident that the convention would bring the party together. In an interview before the convention with the Financial Times, Russ Schriefer, Romney’s convention planner, promised that the party would unite.
“The one thing we know is we’re all united in defeating Barack Obama and at the end of the day, I guarantee you on Thursday as we walk out of this convention we will be 100 percent united behind Mitt Romney and defeating Barack Obama for the good of the country,” Schriefer told the Financial Times.
The theme of the convention was “We Built It” in effort to remind Americans of how they, the people of America—not the government—made the nation what it is. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, another Republican speaker at the convention, spoke about the theme of the conference and its influence. Chaffetz is also a BYU alumnus and represents Utah County in Congress.
“The American Dream was built on the sweat and blood of Americans who took pride and personal ownership in themselves and their country,” Chaffetz said on Tuesday. “When times were tough, generations before quietly rolled up their sleeves and built a stronger, more prosperous nation. The government didn’t build it. They built it.”