The other night I drove down to scary, road-construction-torn, quiet, dark, industrial Tempe at 8 pm to sit on a market research discussion panel and get paid $100 in exchange for two hours and my opinions. We were a group of 8, all Mormon, sitting around a table in front of a two-way mirror and a moderator, answering questions about our system of values, our vision of America, and our impressions of what could only be excerpts from a potential stump speech that borrowed from King Benjamin in the book of Mosiah.
I can't begin to fathom whose presidential campaign might have been funding this little bit of research re: how people (Mormons) will respond to this speech based on religious background. (Yes I can.)
Tell me, do you consider me a liberal human being? I like to think I'm open-minded and able to see different positions on an issue. But at this little gathering the other night in the name of all that is market research, I was--by far--the most liberal person at the table. Maybe the moderator was liberal, too, because he kept smiling at me and asking me to elaborate on my views. There were a couple of girls at the other end of the table who were cool, and I liked them. They weren't necessarily ultra-conservative in their views, and they dressed cute, but they didn't have too much to say when the topic turned to current events or politics. One girl next to me and one boy next to me on the other side hardly said a word the whole night. So that left four of us to do most of the talking, and frankly, I probably was the most verbose. What can I say? The moderator egged me on, I like to hear myself talk. Sometimes I'm a little arrogant that way, and then I always regret being a conversation-hog the next day.
One old man would get asked a question regarding some aspect of values that were important to him and he would practically jump on the moderator, turning it into a Sunday School lesson, complete with quoting the scriptures. "You see, in our church," he proselytized, " we believe that faith yada yada yada like it says in Ether 12. . . ." We all laughed pretty much every time he took the opportunity to try to convert the moderator, which was often.
There was an older lady who was thoughtful and articulate and whose political views were almost 180-- no, probably more like 90 degrees-- from mine. The scripture-quoting gentleman was so smitten with what this lady had to say that at one point in our discussion, he declared he was looking for a wife, and was she married? She was. It was funny. Nobody proposed to me.
The last guy at the table became my A-No. 1 sparring partner. Practically everything I said would incense him and cause him to get red in the face. I'm exaggerating, but only a little. He seemed aghast at my current top three faves for president: Romney, McCain and Obama. He likes Guiliani and Thompson and Romney. No one else had any opinion whatsoever. Too early to follow the campaigns, they all said.
It's funny, because I've never met her, but the whole night I was thinking about Carina, or Azucar, if you will. If I'm vocal and opinionated and liberal (and the thing is, I'm really not!), she's 20 times more so on all three counts. I was having fun picturing her in this group, telling the die-hard Republican Mormons what-for. The images I was coming up with kept making me smile. Maybe that's why the moderator liked me.
Well, I just wanted to share my little experience. I probably signed something somewhere saying I wouldn't discuss the details of the discussion group. So at least I haven't told you my suspicions on who I think funded it and wanted to know how we felt about all that stuff. Let's just say I have a couple of friends working on this particular campaign this summer, and wouldn't it be funny if it was one of them's responsibility to analyze the market research data, and the videotape footage of Liberal Emily duking it out with the far-right conservatives surfaced? I would laugh.
By the way, Azucar, I thought of you again regarding this market research thing because I'm taking my check and buying a ticket to see The Police. I know you wouldn't approve, it being a big stadium tour of a 30-year-old band, and all. Usually I'd agree with you. But, it's The Police, The Police! You can come with us, if you want.