McClellan: We should all follow the Mormons’ example — and vote - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

McClellan: We should all follow the Mormons’ example — and vote

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

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Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012 11:20 am | Updated: 2:54 pm, Tue Dec 11, 2012.

Let’s all be Mormons.

No, not adopt their religion per se. It’s no doubt a fine one, but most of us have our own religions or no religion at all. So this is not about the LDS theology.

But we should adopt one of their apparent tenets, the one that we see especially at times like this, “times like this” being election time.

As we were driving home from church recently, my son glanced at the enormous number of political signs at each corner and noted, “Dad, many of those candidates are Mormons. Why?”

A good question, but one I think I know the answer to.

I think Mormons are taught early on that patriotism, love of our country, is a part of their lifestyle as LDS members.

And a major part of that patriotism is to participate in the political process.

So particularly here in the East Valley but across our state, we see inordinately large numbers of Mormon office-seekers and elected officials.

This despite the Mormon population being only 4 percent of the total Arizona population, and only 5.5 percent of Maricopa County’s population.

Mormons vote, too. In the last Republican primary in 2008, the 4 percent of Mormons made up 11 percent of the total Republican vote.

So their influence is outsized.

And good for them. They are doing just what our Founders wanted — an involved electorate.

If only the rest of us would follow the Mormon example.

But we have that chance, here in August and again in November.

We can vote in the primaries and vote again in the general election.

If — as some claim — this is one of the most important elections in our history, then it’s our duty to appear at the polls.

The shame is, unlike so many of our Mormon neighbors, the rest of us won’t.

Mark Scarp in the Tribune recently reported the voter turnouts. In the last election, 2010, only 30 percent of eligible voters participated in primaries. And that was an 8 percent increase from the previous election.

As we know, here in Arizona, often the primaries are the general elections, in the sense that there is no general election opponent. Yet only one-third of us, at best, show up to vote.

But the Mormons apparently do.

Look what looms ahead in November: a Presidential contest with a clear difference of how our country should be governed, contested seats for almost every Congressional slot, initiatives that can dramatically change the shape of our state, school bond and override elections, legislative seats that color the way our state Legislature behaves (or misbehaves).

All that’s on the line in this election. And we can be sure that the patriotic Mormons will exercise their constitutional right to vote.

So let’s be like our LDS neighbors, read up on the issues and the candidates, and vote in the primary and general elections. It might not make us any holier, but it will make our state and country better.

• Mike McClellan is an East Valley resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

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