Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clint Eastwood Has My Phone Number

I have learned the profound difference between Utah and Virginia.   If you look at the following map closely you might see it right off the bat, whereas clarity came to me only after fifteen months in The Commonwealth and a presidential election.  

Matt and I are registered Independents because the only thing we can unabashedly affix ourselves to is our faith and each other.  I will tell you up and down and seventeen days from Thursday that I am a Mormon.  I will also tell you with as much gusto that being Mormon does not a Republican make of me . . . or a Democrat.  What it makes me is a believer in Jesus Christ.  Politics, with all its exclamation points, does more to threaten my inner-discipleship than persuade me to align with the many and varied philosophies of man.  

When Matt and I bought a house in a Salt Lake City neighborhood we had a kind fellow from our church who lived nearby stop at our door to welcome us and get us registered to vote.  How very helpful I thought him.  How very petulant he thought me when, knowing I was a Mormon, I refused to mark the box that declared me a Republican also.  My 'X' by Independent was nearly as offensive/disappointing as it would have been had I just out and told him I was a Democrat.  

The heart of the problem is this: how can one party possibly represent my mind on every issue?  Can I not be of one mind about immigration, while being of a very different mind regarding healthcare?  And being of such disparate minds how could my legs straddle the grand canyon of thought and opinion beneath them.  So there I stand - in a camp of my own making.  Independent.

Utah has no time for me.  The sheer crimson-ness of it swallows up politically independent citizens.  "We don't need you," declares the machine.  "We have all the votes we could ever want.  Go ahead and set up your tent in any corner of the political landscape that suits your fancy."  Which means my phone never rings.

Virginia is desperate for me.  The first I heard of this development was when Malina Mara from The Washington Post came to Buena Vista looking for people to interview and take photos of for a piece highlighting Virginia as a "battleground state."  We have a good friend at Southern Virginia University who called me with about an hour's notice and asked if I might represent what he considered to be a thoughtful and moderate Mormon voice on the roll of faith in an election.

You can find a brief excerpt of that interview along with a photo of me at the following link.

It was through this conversation I began to understand that my registered independence might be viewed differently by the political machinations of "Old Dominion." And so my phone rings.

My phone rings with unprecedented frequency and urgency. 
I get calls from 
Mitt Romney
Ann Romney
Paul Ryan
Clint Eastwood
The National Rifle Association
The Republican National Committee
Americans For Responsible Leadership
The National "Don't Forget to Vote" Association
Republicans For No Taxes
Republicans For Government So Small There's Hardly Any Left
Republicans Who Tolerate Mitt Even Though He's Mormon
Republicans Who Hunt Large Animals 
Holly Brisburne, an actual person, who called last night hoping I would be voting for "our President" today.  I wondered if she knew that her eleventh hour call came on the heels of two weeks of at least a dozen calls a day from the Republicans.   My phone number is at the top of the Possibly Persuadable list and the Republicans must have spent a whole lot of money to that end. 

So the Democrats were a little short on the phone campaign.  They must have spent their money elsewhere, assuming they would catch me while browsing YouTube, or countless websites whose creators might have felt a twinge of irritation that they had become a canvas for democratic appeals.

Not only did my vote this morning count - it could possibly count BIG TIME.  I live in an unpredictable state that could, ostensibly, decide the next president.   

 I have voted.  I feel good about that.  I am not going to reveal my vote as means to maintaining my true independence.  Or really just because the notion of defending my political thoughts and actions to anyone but Matt gives me the heebie-jeebies.  And you are anyone-but-Matt.  Much as I love you.