Romney's moment is a Mormon moment.
*First a disclaimer: As official statements from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have pointed out time and time again, not all Mormons are Republican and not all Mormons will be voting for Mitt Romney.
Regardless of how Mormons vote in November, I dare say we can all look at Romney on the stage in Tampa with a sense of pride as well as vindication.
Sure, Mormons have served in just about every administration in memory including President Obama's. They've been elected to governorships, the US house and senate. A Mormon now serves as the Senate Majority Leader.
Still, to have a Mormon as the standard bearer of a major political party is a landmark in a quest for inclusion in mainstream America.
To understand that quest, you must also understand that since the early days, Mormons have had a chip on their shoulders. A BIG chip.
From the very start with Joseph Smith's first vision in 1820, relations with neighbors and the government have been filled with misunderstanding and mistrust.
Why do you think the headquarters of the LDS Church now stands in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains and not on the town square in Independence? Mormons were evicted from the country.
It doesn't matter if a Mormon is first generation or has an ancestor who crossed the plains, Mormons remember the mobs with hot tar and feathers in Ohio. They remember fleeing Nauvoo in the dead of winter across a frozen Mississippi River. They remember Hans Mill and executive order #44 -- the extermination order -- signed by Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs.
They remember Carthage.
And they remember a seemingly endless stream of appeals for redress to all levels of government that came to nothing.
Give that, it is extraordinary that as Mormon refugees slogged through the mud of Iowa on their way out of the United States, many remained determined to prove their patriotism. My great-grandfather was among those refugees who, with more than a little coaxing from Brigham Young, volunteered to serve in the US Army. They became the famous Mormon Battalion.
To this day, Mormons are still trying to prove that we are just as American and just as patriotic as everyone else.
Set aside his Politics, Mormons can be proud of Mitt Romney because before he was a candidate for President of the United States, he was a Mormon missionary, father, bishop and stake president.
That any Mormon would get this far on the national political stage was, just a generation ago, unthinkable.