Let's go share the message!

by Kevin Wall - SL County LDS Dems Outreach Chair

Hello everyone!  Writing this blog post about myself reminds me of a communications class I took at the University of Utah where I was required to write my own obituary.  I felt then, as I do now, that it seemed a little self-aggrandizing to write about myself for others to read.  That being said, I was asked to write this, so I’ll do my best.

My name is Keven Wall.  I am a full time employee, part time student, husband, father, golfer, and community advocate.  I am also the new outreach coordinator for the Salt Lake County chapter of the LDS Dems Caucus.  I have not always leaned towards the liberal persuasion.  In fact, less than a year ago, I worked hard for Ben McAdams under the Republican’s for Ben McAdams campaign flag.  Here’s my story.

Two or three years ago I would have described myself as a staunch Republican.  I’m talking Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  About that same time I began to notice an attitude of doom and gloom among all my republican friends. The country was going to “Hades in a Handcart”.  Politics began to be a contentious battle at every turn, even between republicans.  According to my close republican friends everyone was out to steal America from us.  Socialism, Obamacare, illegal immigration and other secret liberal combinations kept me up at night and the funny thing is - I couldn’t understand why.

My own personal convictions didn’t always jive with the republican policy platform.  I didn’t agree with the cold-hearted (and sometimes bigoted) stance my friends would take on the immigration issue.  I hated the live-and-let-die philosophy I would hear spewed with regards to welfare and other social programs meant to help the poor.  I couldn’t reconcile in my mind why the republicans always seemed to be the party of fiscal responsibility when the most recent Republican President of the United States was like a child who found his daddy’s credit card.  My only explanation for these and other issues that I had was that ‘smarter people in the Republican Party must know things that I don’t know.’

Then last year the candidate that I supported for SL County Mayor lost in the republican primary, and I was forced to choose a new corner to run to.  I tried to meet with both candidates, and while I was blown off by the Republican candidate, Ben McAdams met with me when I walked into his office unannounced, chatted with me and invited me to stay and visit with some of his staff.  I was amazed how warm and inviting they all were.  That atmosphere helped me open my mind, look objectively at my values, and determine where I actually stood politically.  I asked Ben some pretty direct questions about issues I deemed a County Mayor would be able to weigh in on and noticed that he and I didn’t differ very often on policy issues.  When I left his office that day I noticed campaign pins on his desk that said “LDS Dems.”  I took one, began volunteering on his campaign, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Here is what I have learned from my experiences.  First, I will never agree completely with either the Republican or the Democratic Parties, but I don’t share the pessimism and cynicism of the Republican Party.  Second, the more I learn about the Democratic Party, and LDS Dems specifically, the more I realize that we share more similarities than differences in policy.

I don’t think my experience is unique.  I think my story could be retold hundreds or thousands of times within the county.  I think that we can grow the LDS Dems Caucus by leaps and bounds just by sharing our opinions honestly, openly, confidently and respectfully.  We need to understand, and we need everyone else to understand, that while we may not all agree perfectly on every policy issue, our similarities will outweigh our differences and by getting involved we will better the caucus, the party, the State of Utah and the Country.

Let’s go share the message!


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