Sunday, October 14, 2018

Born To Run

A few months ago I was invited to a meet and greet for this woman named Shireen Ghorbani who is running for Congress in my district right now (Utah Second District). I went because I'm totes hashtag woke.

Truthfully, I mainly went because I had been feeling guilty for a while for not being informed enough about local politics, and I thought it wouldn't kill me to spend an hour to go and hear what someone who could end up being my representative thinks about cats and Snuggies.

I'm probably like most people in being very fatigued with politics and all of the anger. That's not to say that I ignore politics or that I sometimes don't feel anger about it. I do. Check out my Twitter. Hashtag woke.

But I am tired of it. And although I have received anger emails to the Stranger account accusing me of being "a conservative mindless sheep" and "a communist libtard," and on one occasion on the same day, it might surprise you to learn that I don't consider myself conservative or liberal.

I've registered at various times for both major parties, usually so I can vote in a primary election that I feel somewhat strongly about. But I've never felt loyal to either, and I refuse to buy into the notion that any political party has the market cornered on good or bad people and ideas.

What this means is that I tend to just gravitate toward people who just seem smart and reasonable, even if they have some political beliefs that don't perfectly align with my own. I don't have all or most of the answers, so I just hope that anyone I'm voting for is the kind of person who can take a step back from ego and listen and compromise.

Since everyone is so angry right now about politics, I sort of expected the meet and greet to be a doomsday rant. I was so pleasantly surprised when it wasn't.

Shireen was well-spoken, and kind, and thoughtful, and somehow both humble and forceful. She said supportive things about people of different political parties. She talked knowledgeably about political positions and her ideas without acting like there was no room for conversation or disagreement.

Basically I fell in love with her and now I'm having all of her babies. She doesn't know that yet. I'm waiting for the right moment to tell her.

For the first time ever I put a campaign sign in my yard. Skylar fell in love with her, too. He has now gone out on his own knocking doors for her. I would absolutely cancel all of my plans to watch a reality tv show where cameras just follow Skylar around knocking on doors to talk to strangers about politics.

All of this is to say that when I went to the meet and greet, Shireen said that she decided to run for office because of a family tragedy that caused her to really change the way she saw a lot of things; the experience compelled her to want to make the world a better place, and this is how she decided to do it.

It was one of the most compelling and wonderful stories I've ever heard and I knew it would be great for Strangerville. She was kind enough to meet with us and tell it. It's one of the best stories we've produced in Strangerville. Regardless of your political beliefs or lack thereof, I think this story is healing and beautiful; I hope you'll listen and share.

This time in Strangerville, a Utah woman gives an emotional account of how a family tragedy caused her to decide to run for Congress. Also, Eli has no idea if he's supposed to make his sister's kids watch church on TV.


Born To Run, by Shireen Ghorbani

Music: Jupiter the Blue by Gillicuddy

Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

I filled out my mail-in ballot the other day and texted to let the campaign know. I now expect everyone I vote for in the future to send me a personalized selfie.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. On the RSS podcast feed the episode wasn't "Born to Run" it was "Woven Tarp Bags" posted again. I guess I'll listen to this episode off your website!

    1. Strange—it popped up correctly on my podcast apps. Which do you use?

    2. Weird. I use Castro, which hasn't given me problems like this before. Great episode btw!

    3. The description and title are correct, but the sound file starts playing Woven Tarp Bags

    4. Hmm. I just pulled it up on Castro and it worked for me. Maybe your phone is . . . HAUNTED!!!

    5. I use Pocket Cast and this happened to me too. For a few minutes there, I thought I was in Groundhog Day.

    6. Ok, I think I figured out what might have been causing the problem for some apps. It should be fixed now . . .

  2. This was exceptional, and my face is all puffy now so thanks for that. What a wonderful lady. Best of luck to her!

  3. "I refuse to buy into the notion that any political party has the market cornered on good or bad people and ideas."

    Thank you for this! I think this is what angers me about people who discuss politics most. That they're like "Republicans are bad" or "Democrats are corrupt" - when in truth - both . . . . no, wait . . . ALL political parties have good and bad people running under their banner.

    I got into a debate with a former co-worker on FB (because it's the absolute best place to debate politics) who posted a note that we should stay angry and vote blue in November. I asked if it was okay if I stay angry and vote for candidates based on their merits and qualifications rather than their party affiliation. He told me to do what I thought best but that I was kidding myself if I didn't think there was a difference between the D and R parties.

    I never said that I didn't. There is - some really big differences. But that doesn't mean that everyone running under their banners are the same. Nor are my choices limited to those two - I like the Libertarian candidate who is running for Governor so I'm voting for him in that election.

    Part of what is wrong with our political process is people who have become myopic about candidacy and are willing to vote party lines simply because they don't like who is in office at the moment. As a society we've become sheep - and we need more people like you who ignore the party affiliation and focus on the actual candidate.

  4. Totally agree with Nicole and the ideas in your post. One of the most liberating feelings I've in politics was feeling well informed enough to select the "independent" option on FB instead of being beholden or viewed as one side or the other.

    Also, I really loved this story and have missed these more thought-provoking stories on Strangerville. Keep them coming!

  5. Wow. This gave me the ugly cries. More stories like this please!

  6. What a powerful story. I'm so excited to vote for Shireen!

  7. I like her! I did the whole bad parent thing where I sat in my car for an extra 10 minutes when I got home from the grocery store yesterday and finished listening to this podcast. Hashtag worth it. She's the kind of person we need in politics!

  8. I agree that both political ideaologies have good and bad ideas, good and bad people — BUT — the people *in charge* of the GOP — the faces of the party, the people with actual power and influence — are so evil, so vile, so hateful and corrupt — that I cannot fathom voting for their party ever again. Certainly not in their current state. They’ve allowed extremists to overrun and cannibalize their party, which is truly a shame because historically, Republicans have had good people and good ideas.