Sunday, November 4, 2012

Surprise...I'm a Democrat

I was at a play group this week with a group of woman from my ward.  I'm assuming pretty much the only people who read this blog are my family, but if by chance someone has stumbled upon it who doesn't know me, I'm a Mormon and a ward is the congregation you meet with each Sunday.  The woman were all standing around the table while the kids sacked the house (sorry Erin).  We were talking about Hurricane Sandy and one of the woman said, "Did you know that the federal government has the power to delay the election, and that means it would go in favor of the other party."  Mentally I knew exactly where this was going.  You see, something like 59% of Mormons identify as Republican while only 14% identify as Democrat.  The other 27% are split someway between these four groups.  You have the true Independents like Dr. J or people who belong to other parties like the Greenparty.  You have the Independents who are just sick of both parties and don't know what to do.  You have the apolitical (I'm talking to you sister who didn't bother to register before the cut could you not register!  I mean SERIOUSLY!).  Then you have people claiming to be Independent because they feel like it brings them more legitimacy in an argument but who when you talk to them it becomes pretty obvious they actually belong to one side or the other.  You aren't fooling me neighbor down the street so just declare yourself already!  But in this particular group I was with on Tuesday almost all of them are registered Republican and so I was completely surrounded.

The truth is I'm pretty use to it by now.  I grew up in Arizona, a state that all my childhood stood solidly in the red.  I've heard rumblings that by 2016 it might be a swing state, but for this year at least be assured it will still go Republican.  I grew up in a religion where I've actually heard people say you can't be a Democrat and still hold a temple recommend.  With a few notable exceptions my extended family is an Arizona, Mormon, Republican family.  When I was a child my grandfather introduced me to Law and Order, C-Span, and Rush Limbaugh.  Law and Order was the only thing that stuck.  I've known the Republican Party my whole life and when I was 16 years old realized I wasn't a Republican and checked that Bill Clinton box in my Civic Class Vote. When I was twenty years old I told my grandfather I was going to vote for Al Gore.  He told me I was throwing my vote away, just like he'd tossed my Nana's absentee ballot because he knew she had done the same.  I told him luckily I didn't need his approval to know what was right for me.  I've been a Democrat ever since and it has been easy for me.  I know who I am and what I believe and I've just found the group I most closely align with.  I've had a few compadres along the way.  My Uncle Jim has been arguing the Democratic side since before I could understand why my uncles were arguing at family events.  My Nana often voted as a Democrat before her death and I have one cousin Nyline who takes the brunt of our family displeasure when she post things on Facebook.  And then there is my immediate family and with the exception of my one slightly apolitical sister we've all found ourselves leaning liberal after leaving the nest.  It wasn't planned in any way but I think our shared family experiences and the fact that our mother has always encouraged us to look at all sides of an argument (even when it drove us nuts!) allowed us to really think through the issues without feeling the family pressures to conform.  It also probably helped that she was an Independent all my growing up and I knew her to vote both Republican and Democrat.  In fact even though I'm a Democrat I still feel the need to vote person rather than party and with policies I align with rather then those who proposed them.  It just happens that my alignment is most often left.  Every once in a great while I'll tune in to Sean Hannity or Fox news to see where I stand and yup, sure as rain I'm still a Democrat.

For the most part this election I've tried to stay out of the arguments.  When most of your friends are Republican and most of them declared they were going to vote for Mitt Romney a year ago there just didn't seem to be a point in arguing all the time.  Early on in the election cycle I hid anyone on Facebook who was posting a lot of political stuff.  It was just to tempting to argue and the few times I did nothing was accomplished but people feeling angry about each other.  I figured it would probably be better for friendships to just unhide them come January, because I do love people and I think we can be friends/family even if we don't vote for the same person.  For the most part I've limited my political comments in person as well.  And it works for me.  Sure every once in a while I have to have a purge to my sister, or my husband, or my one local friend who I know is a Democrat, but for the most part I think I've managed to stay civil and friendly.  But this was a time I just couldn't keep my mouth shut.  And so when the woman said it would go in favor of the "other party", something switched on in my brain that said, "Wait that is my party.  I'm voting in that party and to be honest it would be better for my friendships if I didn't have to bite my tongue while I listened to people dis on it."  And so I said, "Oh, so you mean it would be in favor of my party."  And to be honest folks, that pretty much ended the conversation right there.


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  2. Thanks for posting this Crystal. I really did enjoy it. Your comment amongst friends was perfect. I know it must be frustrating to have so many people close to you think differently. I consider the same for Nyline my sister. I, much like you, can still like and love people I don’t agree with politically. The truth is even Brian and I who are both conservative can find issues to argue over in the political realm. When this happens I have to just tell him that I disagree and move on. (He’s much farther to the right than even I am on many things and then on others is farther to the left) There is so much more to the people around us than their political thinking. For me living in Delaware (a very very very Blue state) I feel surrounded by people who think very differently than I do. Getting involved with the republican clubs here in Delaware and with local politics has helped me feel like I belong a little bit more. But I feel much more at home in Arizona politics for sure. I never knew that about Nana...she always kept that to herself and she was the first person to ever take me to vote. :)

  3. Thanks for mentioning me cousin! Just for your information, your cousin Spencer and his wife lean a bit left as well. I had a wonderful conversation with them at my dad's surprise party in Sept. Although I do take quite a bit, Uncle Jim definately take the brunt of things here in az. I think that some of our family that leans more left tends to not vocalize it much because of the predominance of the Republican Party in our family. I have been democrat for quite a while. Even though I can think and act on my own, I am sure my side of the family blames Nathan because I never talked about it with any family until after we were married. Oh well! Nathan's parents are Republican and they wonder where they went wrong but, then again...their mothers were both Roosevelt Democrats and probably wondered the same thing about their own children. love your post!

  4. You don't know me, as I found your blog through Bridget's. I've been following you since you had your sweet Cheetah. Anyway, I was thinking about writing an extremely similar post today, so I had to comment on yours. I am also a Democrat and a Mormon, and have been in several situations where groups of Mormons make the assumption that I am also a Republican. I rarely claim my party unless explicitly asked, but your point about simply making it known instead of having your bite your tongue is a good one. Thanks for the post!

  5. I grew up in Canada (Nancy's mom), and always thought that if I were in the States, I just might be a republican because so many of my relatives were, and we must all think alike, right? But...after living in the US, I realize that I am so NOT a republican. Actually, on the questionnaire, every time I take it, I find myself way out in left field by Ghandi. And actually, I don't mind at all being associated with him. On the aforementioned political compass, Romney and Obama are pretty close to each other, at least when compared to either of them and where Ghandi and I sit. Once my nephew Michael and I were discussing politics, and he said, "It is impossible to be both Canadian and republican" --assuming, you know, that you are the kind of Canadian who is also a dual citizen of the US and so therefore it might matter--and I have to agree. Socialism, as in democratic socialism, which "seeks to establish socialism through democratic processes and propagate its ideals within the context of a democratic system" is very much a part of the Canadian psyche. So, though I am a dual citizen and CAN vote in the US, and definitely Obama is a teeny bit closer to Ghandi, I am just probably not going to vote. Mormons who are anti-socialist are so interesting to me, given that there are complete countries counting a goodly number of socialist Mormons among their citizenry...

  6. You know what sucks? Being married to a Republican Mormon who feels that Democrats are inherently evil. And when I call him out on it, he denies that he feels that way (even though his comments totally say otherwise). I'm not a Democrat - more of an Independnt - but I probably lean more toward the Democratic party than the Republican party. I can't even talk politics in my own home because it makes me so mad. Grrrrrr. Can't wait till tomorrow is over. Although if Obama wins, I'm going to hear some major dissing.

    1. Yes! My husband DOES think I'm inherently evil! There is a lot of pressure in our household to get to the mail first before elections and a lot of empty threats to lose/recyce/burn the other guy's ballot, etc. Kind of a drag to cancel out each others' vote in many cases, but what else can I do? Agree with the guy?!. Probably not possible =)



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