Russell Saunders’s comment on a recent post of my knocked loose a box containing something I wanted to post about.
Back when I was in Deseret, the vast majority of my coworkers were somewhere to the right of center. It’s a Mormon part of the country and Mormons tilt to the right. It was a white collar employer, and white collar jobs are disproportionately taken by Mormons. The COO was the bishop of the local church, and people often got jobs through him. My own department, where word-of-mouth hiring expanded the rebellious gentile population’s network, was the only exception.
There was a guy who worked in Account Management who I will call Nick. Nick was the prototypical Super-Mormon, for good and for ill. Practically a Huntsman, though that wasn’t his name. He was ambitious and had a good work ethic. He had a family of five (at the time, nine now) to support, two kids by birth and one foreign-adopted. He had at least a touch of Mormon Male Entitlement Syndrome: God told him he was special and we had an obligation to respect that, or at least defer to His wisdom on the matter. For reasons I do not understand, he liked me. Professionally, we got along great. He was congenial on the surface, but also a bit frosty to people he perceived as Others. He was the type of guy who, when he thought someone had borrowed some of his cottage cheese, sent a company-wide email saying, in essence, “DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF!” But, in his sense of inners-and-outers, when I told him what had happened (I opened the fridge, his cottage cheese came tumbling out, and I spent half my lunch period cleaning the mess) he was all backslaps and no problems and the girls at the office sure do love to overstuff the fridge so we don’t have places to put things don’t they?
When I left, he was not one of the ones I was anxious to stay in contact with (to my detriment, now that I think about it, he is the type that would have written a stellar letter of recommendation).
I don’t know where I got the impression, but I had assumed, without even assuming, that he was a pretty hard core Republican. The guy exemplified a type of Republicanism. The type of Republicanism I am less fond of, to be sure, but all the same. When he sent me a friend request on Facebook, I fully expected to see that he had a business degree from BYU, that he was LDS, and that he was a Republican.
I was one for four. He got a political science degree from [Deseret] State University. He is, in fact, LDS (Not much of a guess on my part. I’ve never tagged anyone with MMES that wasn’t LDS). But he is a Democrat. And feels comfortable enough about this, even working in an office full of Republicans that fired its legal counsel because he was gay and under a family heavily involved in local Republican politics. I was impressed not only that he wasn’t entirely who I thought he was, but that he wasn’t shy about it. It makes me think that I did not know him as well as I thought I did.