Today we had the adventurous opportunity to meet and interview Congressman Don Young, the most senior republican representative in the House and the only representative from Alaska. Going in to the interview, we heard various opinions about him and what he is all about. Based on the controversial nature of some aspects of his career, we had a fairly uniform opinion about how he would be and what he might say. We left the interview with a very different impression.
I can’t say we will all support his future campaigns, but we did get a unique insight into the true values and feelings of Don Young, something most people don’t get to see. It became apparent to me, amidst the outrageously entertaining stories about his adventures in life, and in government, that he clearly operates on a set of deep principles that he cares about. They were simple and logical in their raw form. He values fairness and equal opportunity, as well as reason and practicality. It was interesting to see how values and principles, that I support, can be used to foster complex opinions that I never even considered.
Many of the things Congressman Young said made more sense, on a fundamental level, than I would have expected. All in all, the interview was a wonderful surprise. We went in with some fairly strong preconceptions, and left saying, “Wow, so what if I don’t agree with this guy politically, he’s so cool!!!!” I think above all, it was the most shining example of how policy does not define the person behind it, and that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or even the summary on the back.