Politics. What a horrid word.
When teenagers hear that word, they're asleep before you have pronounced the "s." We view politicians as mindless animals that aim to kill and manipulate.
This is not so. I recently had the opportunity to go see for myself what politicians were really like. One day in February, I found myself walking out of the cold and into the warm embrace of the Weber County Republican Party's Lincoln Day celebration.
As my mother introduced me to the many people there she knew, I could see their shoulder blades straighten, muscles tense and harden, and neutral walls slam down over their facial features.
"This is my daughter, Taylor, and she is a reporter for the teen section of the Standard-Examiner," my mother said. It was obvious these politicians didn't much care for people who thrust questions at them with no mercy. But I then proceeded to calmly and carefully ask them questions about their favorite food and singer or band.
The change was instantaneous. All were surprised; some laughed, but most smiled as they thought about their answers. I tried really hard to appear calm but I was freaking out inside! I mean, the outlandish rumors of politicians made me extremely nervous for that night.
I spoke with the Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch; he divulged he had been to 300 weddings in the last year and performed five weddings on Valentine's Day. His favorites include sushi, chocolate, pizza and the Bar J Wranglers. He was very nice and laid-back, which I didn't expect.
Representative Brad Galvez, a politician I know personally because he just lives down the road, loves salmon, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Josh Groban and also the Bar J Wranglers.
Terry Thompson, the Weber County sheriff, loves cheesesteak and travels all the way out to around Clearfield, I believe it was, to get an authentic Philly cheesesteak. He also recommends the movie "Zoo Keeper" for the song by Boston at the end.
Matthew Bell, the county chair of the Republican Party, joked about favoring lettuce but admitted to really favoring prime rib. He enjoys Mariah Carey and target shooting, and was absolutely hilarious to talk to.
Kerry Gibson, a county commissioner and also fun to talk to, loves milk, ice cream, cottage cheese and beef. I couldn't tell if he was serious or not, but he said absolutely no chicken. He adores the country singer Gary Morris; however, he most enjoys playing with his kids.
Jan Zogmaister, also a county commissioner, loves anything she doesn't have to make herself, smoothies, Mercy River, politics and her grandkids.
The winner for keeping a neutral expression during his assistant's introduction of himself to my father and me is Congressman Rob Bishop. He says he can't get enough of, and recommends, the fried shrimp from Utah Noodle, and tops it off with a nice cool Dr. Pepper.
Jacqueline Smith, running for Congress, loves cheese fries, Celine Dion, politics, reading and playing the piano.
My favorite name of the night would have to be Bond ... John Bond, Weber County treasurer. He was quite talkative and says he loves history because of his conversations with Boy Scouts from the Great Depression, who built houses, among other things. Bond writes history books as a hobby, loves chicken cordon bleu, Coldplay and Boston, and his advice to teenagers is: "Have faith in yourself, and encourage faith in others."
Last, but certainly not least, Gov. Gary Herbert laughed out loud at my first question about favorite foods and replied he likes anything his wife makes him, including chicken and broccoli casserole. He loves the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Lettermen, golf, tennis, baseball, basketball and football. After all that was mentioned, Herbert and Gibson had a debate over the chicken in the chicken and broccoli casserole.
This exercise announced to me loud and clear that politicians are people, too; they have likes and dislikes, and most importantly, personalities. So a word to the wise: don't judge, overlook or underestimate. Politicians are people too, and everything isn't the way that it seems. That fearful facade is really just a wall put there to conceal the person's, not the beast's, feelings.
So next time you see a politician at the pulpit wait to find out who they really are before the first tomato is thrown.
Taylor Deem is a sophomore at Fremont High School. Email her at email@example.com.