Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Troubling September Dawn For Mitt?

September 11 doesn't mark just one anniversary of the slaughter of Americans by religious fanatics; it marks two, and in 2007, the earlier event will have its 150th anniversary.

In that case, the Mountain Meadows massacre, about 120 American men, women and children were brutally executed by ... Americans. The executed were members of a wagon train going west, Christians from Arkansas. The executers were Mormons and a few of their Paiute comrades.

There are differences between the two 9/11's, of course. For one, the U.S. had declared a war of sorts against the Mormons, dispatching 2,500 troops to Utah to deal with Mormon polygamy and refusal to bow the federal law. The hapless Baker-Francher wagon train happened into Utah just as Mormon apocalyptic thinking about the approaching Army troops was reaching its peak.

Here's the Wikipedia entry, that appears to be pretty bloody turf itself, as Mormon minimizers and anti-Mormon maximizers seem to be at war within the entry. Read it with open eyes and you'll come away with a pretty good accounting all in all through the push and pull.

Mitt Romney would probably rather we not talk about this. Mormons ruthlessly killing pioneer families is not an image that will do his campaign good ... but it's going to be a bit hard to avoid the matter as the movie September Dawn opens August 24.

It won't be a subtle event. In the trialer, the narrator, in a deep, conspiratorial voice, talks over white-on-black type screens and quick-cuts of pioneer images:
On September 11, 1857 in an unspoiled valley of the Utah Territory and in the name of God, 130 men, women and children were savagely murdered. Who ordered the massacre and why in a cloak of secrecy and conspiracy and the reputation of one of this nation's mightiest religious figures has been preserved and protected ... until now.
As the type fades on "until now," a man on horseback draws and cocks his six-shooter and shouts,
Mormons, do your duty!

... and the massacre begins. (View trailer here)

There's good reason for the movie to be coming out now ... it is the 150th anniversary and all ... but how unfortunate for Romney that the timing is such that the movie is coming out now.

Will it have an impact? I doubt it, really. Slavery didn't keep Jimmy Carter from being president and the Inquisition didn't get in Kennedy's way; besides movies like this don't tend to attract big crowds.

Sure, there are those who will use it to turn voters against the Romney campaign -- gullible voters who will let themselves be swayed by something that happened 150 years ago in a very different time, a very different country.

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