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David Misch

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Romney: A Tree Responds

Posted: 02/23/2012 7:15 pm

"I love this state. It seems right here. Trees are the right height."
-- Mitt Romney, in Michigan

Let me introduce myself. I am a deciduous oak, born around 1996. I live in Iowa, in a suburban area where there are thousands of trees. Although the winters are long and cold, it is basically a good life and I am happy.

Like many trees, I have not paid a lot of attention to the presidential primaries -- in these challenging times, I spend most of the day photosynthesizing and the evening with my acorns. I keep to myself, mostly because I am immobile but also because it is my temperament.

But Mr. Romney's recent comments have caused me to come out of my "shell," if I may borrow a natural world metaphor from our turtle friends. His statement that Michigan trees are the "right height" is a not-so-veiled insult to trees everywhere else.

I am approximately 55 feet tall. I am not an imposing tree, nor a shrinking violet. I am an ordinary, God and lightning fearing arboreal-American. I did not choose to be this height, it is simply what I grew to. I could no more consciously change my height than you could deliberately change your sexual preference.

By the way, what's sex like? Is it fun? It must be fun.

Sorry, I digress.

What is the "right" height, Mr. Romney? 60 feet? 5 feet? Although 5 feet would really be a bush.

(Wasn't the last Republican president named Bush? So did I make a joke? It gives me a pleasurable feeling to think I did. Is that like sex?)

Of course, Mr. Romney, you are entitled to your opinion on tree height, although I believe that size isn't everything. But, speaking for all non-Michigan trees, I must express my resentment at your implicit judgment of my height worth.

What is the height of trees in your home state of Michigan/California/Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Utah? (I guess California is really the one since that's where you have the most homes.) I have never been to Michigan -- I have never been to anywhere -- but aren't the trees there of varying heights? If so, are you saying all their heights are right?

Some may suggest that your hurtful remark was not made to offend other trees but simply to endear yourself to the trees of Michigan, which used their precious chlorophyl to manufacture the oxygen (yes, we still make things in America -- try outsourcing your oxygen supply to China) you used to say I'm the wrong height.

I know a way to find out. The next Republican primary is in South Dakota. Will you have the intellectual honesty to go there and say "Nice state -- too bad your trees are the wrong height"?

Mr. Romney: Speaking for America's 800 million trees -- minus, of course, Michigan's six million perfectly-sized ones -- I urge you to consider your words more carefully in the future. We may not be voters, we may not be human, we may not even be what you would call sentient, but we have sap, we have bark, and we have feelings. I may not be the "right" height but my roots are long enough to reach the ground, and that's good enough for me.

I am deciduous oak and I approve this message.