I admit that I am an extremely opinionated person. Being highly opinionated can be a lot of work sometimes. In order to form a passionate opinion on everything you have to first think about everything. Needless to say, election season is especially taxing for the extremely opinionated. Its the one time when we as citizens are called upon to express our opinions and being outspoken can actually come off as civic responsibility.
Everyone I know has a pretty firm grasp on where they stand with national politics and a set of guiding principles they use when casting their vote. At this point, debating the presidential election is almost pointless but it has everyone holding their breath to see the outcome. In the mean time, no one seems to care about local government elections which drives me crazy because those outcomes have a direct influence on basic every day life and one vote really does have a huge impact. when I go into the voting booth, I am ashamed if I come to a vote that I know nothing about and it really bugs me to leave one unanswered. It is worth it to me to do research before hand on all of the candidates and ballot measures. John always counts on me to tell him how to vote and I usually send him in with a sample ballot filled out . This year I typed up the correct answers in a word document. Then I kept coming across people who were like "Just tell me how to vote." and I started passing my voter guide out to friends and family. I even researched the judges up for retention and sifted through all of the verbage in the propositions. In the process I got to be very familiar with all of the details of local government.
So yesterday after church I was rounding up kids and herding everyone to the car when a huge truck plastered with campaign signs came rolling into the church parking lot. Out stepped a little blonde lady who I immediately recognized to be the advertised candidate. Barbara McGuire. She is running for State Senator. I was a little fuzzy on the details but I knew she for sure hadn't made the cut to be in my voter guide and I was kind of curious what she was doing there. She was wearing a pantsuit and all made up and was striding into the church. Out of hundreds of random LDS church goers, who does she single out to walk direct to and introduce herself? Of course, the one person there who actually obsesses over these races and who has been passing out a home made voter guides. Hilarity ensues. Heres the conversation:
Barbara: Hi there! My name is Barbara McGuire and I'm here to find out when the services here are held!
Me: Hi Barbara, nice to meet you. There are a number of wards that meet here. Is there a specific ward you want to know about? Wards start at 8, 10, and 1.
Barbara: I wanted to know when the meetings are because I am, in fact, a Mormon. I haven't been to church for years because I am so busy but THIS IS MY FAITH! I am a Mormon!
Me: Thats great. I'm glad you're here. Where do yo live? We can figure out which ward you are in.
Barbara: I am a third generation resident of Kearny! I happen to be running for state senate right now. That has absolutely nothing to do with why I am here, of course, but I sure do love this church.
Me: Oh, so you would actually belong to a ward in Kearney. There are LDS congregations pretty much everywhere.
Barbara: It is so funny, Most people don't even know that I am a Mormon! These are my people! I really can't wait to get back to church. Today I only had time to stop in and check the meeting times but I am ready to come back to church! God knows I need the sacrament!
(awkward uncomfortable laughter)
Me: Tell you what, why don't I give you my email address and you can shoot me off an email and I'll reply with all of the meeting times and information.
Sister McGuire: Great! Actually, I'll give you my information. I just happen to have a stack of campaign flyers here that have all of my contact info. I'll just give you a whole bunch of these and you can pass them out to people or leave them out here at church.
Me: I am actually familiar with your campaign. You are a Democrat, right?
Babs: Yes, I am technically a Democrat, but I support our right to own guns!
Me: Ya gotta love the Second Amendment!
Babs: AND… I would never have an abortion or recommend an abortion to anyone, because I really support Life, but I also would never dare to dictate what another should choose to do with their body. We just have no business legislating what people do with their bodies.
At this point I was wondering if one of us was being punked. It was all so random and hilarious and so totally awkward. Here she was forcing abortion into the conversation in less than a minute. And she happened to pick the one person who enjoys political debate more than making nice.
Me: So what if I want to choose to use my body to kill someone? Is it okay to legislate against that particular choice?
Barb: ha ha ha… You know what we need? More smart women in positions of influence! Women really know what is important!
Me: I totally agree. Women are great. We do need women in important places. Especially in homes raising responsible children.
(more awkward laughter)
I was so entertained by the whole exchange that I really wanted to experience it with someone else who would appreciate the depth of the hilarity. None of my peeps were around. Our Relief Society president was walking down the hall so I introduced the two. Barbara explained how she was a hard core Mormon and just paying a visit to her people and again stated that she happened to be running for office even though that has nothing to do with why she was there.
Her whole rehearsed speech was like a slapstick comedy routine. It was so used car salesman-ish. It was like she got a memo telling her that to win the election she had to earn the Mormon vote and then she printed out a list of Mormon issues and went down the list. Who starts a conversation with "I'm technically a Democrat but I support our right to own guns."? and then segues into abortion within two seconds?
Seriously, If you want to win the Mormon vote you are far better off showing up and saying, "Hi. I heard that LDS people have huge voter turnout and I wanted to come introduce myself because I really respect your civic involvement." Is it really wise to show up at church two days before the election claiming to BE a Mormon? If there is one thing about Mormonism, its that we can spot our own kind. There is a look and a vocabulary and a whole vibe that constitutes the nuances of Mo-dar and we can't be infiltrated that easily. Even if she could pull off her Mormon impersonation, the fact that she thinks she can show up and identify herself as a member of the church and automatically get our votes she is implying that she thinks we are mindless voters that blindly vote for our own regardless of policy. Thats incorrect AND offensive. I'm not sure if that tactic would work with other social groups, but we happen to be doctrinally opposed to crap like that. Everyone knows that if you want to get people in your community to vote the way you want, you have to at least author a blog and type up a voter guide. Geesh!
When I got home I had to dig in and find out all I could about this broad. First of all, she is totally funded by Planned Parenthood and labor unions. She does have an impeccable record on gun rights but she has run nothing but a juvenile ridiculous mud slinging campaign against the Republican candidate, Joe Ortiz. Also, there have been redistricting shenanigans that can only be described as "secret combinations". If you don't know what that means, call Barbara McGuire. I hear she's a Book of Mormon scholar.