Sometimes it takes just a little bit of courage to become an active conservative. In this episode, we meet with Selim Sabillon who shares his journey from communism to America and why he and his wife are passionate election poll workers. I also read through some listener emails and give you my take on the current situation in the Tyre Nichols case in Memphis.
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Hey everybody. Today on the answer I take a few minutes to respond to some of the emails I've received from our listeners. And I chat with Salim Sauvignon, who immigrated to America and is now a proud election poll worker, please consider supporting this podcast. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook at Ben Armenta Texas. You can also find out more about my story at Ben armenta.com. Hey, welcome in everybody. Welcome back to the answer with Ben Armenta. Since since we launched this podcast, we've been encouraging our listeners to contact me directly through social media through emails to share your feedback, share your ideas, and we've gotten reviews on all the various podcast platforms. But the emails have been probably the best thing. The best thing to read, I give out my personal email on each and every episode is been at Ben armenta.com. And you can email me anything, anything that's on your heart and on your mind, show ideas. Guests, you'd like me to try to contact and interview, whatever. But I absolutely love reading those emails. So we decided to start a segment here on the answer called mail time, where I pick a couple of the emails and respond to them so that you understand kind of what's coming in and what other people are thinking out there and some of my thoughts and ideas on it on it too. And, frankly, look, really the purpose of this podcast is to serve all of you. It's to create a dialogue, to educate, activate more families to get engaged in the political process. And if there's anything I can do to make this a more engaging podcast to achieve that objective, then I'm gain. So I thought I'd share with you a handful of those emails that I've received. So first one here is from Becky. So Becky doesn't say where she's from. So I'm just going to assume someplace far and away and exotic, you know, global reach for the podcast and all So okay, so this is from Becky in Bora Bora. Ben, I find the premise of your podcast to be interesting, aiming to help families get involved in politics. But I find it weird that someone who lost his only political race thinks he's in a position to give advice. She goes on to name numerous other pundits, I guess, and politicians who should be doing something similar. Okay. All right, Becky, well, you definitely don't shy away from speaking from your heart. But look, here's the deal. I'm doing something. I'm doing something to the best of my ability to try to engage others and bring them to conservatism and get them engaged and involved in the Republican Party. So now look, I hope I'm creating some sticking power here and inspiring those who may already be conservatives to stay in the fight. But I'm not trying to be an expert. I'm not trying to be an expert on anything, other than demonstrating a willingness to not sit on the sidelines, and to do something to combat leftism, that's it. That's all there is to it. So I'm not trying to pretend to be to be something bigger are different than who I am. This dad, who cares about politics, who understands public policy somewhat and how it impacts my life, and lives of others. I just want to share what's on my mind and my heart and create some conversation with other conservatives. So but Becky, thank you for emailing in. Appreciate it. So this one is from William, dear Ben. Okay. So before I get into this, who, who still writes emails with deer in it? I mean, I don't know if I've been asked sometimes I signed cards, I guess, with with deer in it, but I don't know. It's kind of a throwback, so I like it. Alright, so back to wills note here. Dear Ben. I'm a public school teacher in Amarillo. And I've heard that the state legislature was trying to get woke ism out of our universities. I haven't heard much about it and was wondering if you know what is going on? Sincerely will Well, first of all, will I again, I appreciate you emailing me and I appreciate that you are working hard to better the law. lives of our kids through education. In fact, in an upcoming episode I'm working on we're going to talk a little bit more about about education. So love teachers, and certainly love that you're listening to this podcast. I was actually a teacher myself for a few years in spring and big supporter of, of education. It's just about doing it the right way. So we'll get into that in a future episode. All right, so big picture. You're right. I haven't heard much about what Republicans are doing. What conservatives are doing to combat woke ism in our era universities. And look, this concerns me too. I've got I've got a daughter who's a freshman, I've got a son, a freshman. In high school, I've got a son who's an eighth grader. So they are thinking about what's next after high school or thinking about colleges. My both my wife and I went to a&m, and we've seen some of the challenges on campus there around free speech and tearing down statues. So all that is definitely a concern. And it seems like when I listened to national media, and national radio and television that they, they tend to kind of treat the universities and colleges as if it's a lost cause. And they're they're kind of throwing in the towel. But I don't think that's the case. I don't think that's the case, ultimately, here in in Texas, Dan Patrick, who's Lieutenant Governor Patrick was in Houston last week, and shared a story about the battle that he is taking to the universities, and what he's doing to sort of remove workers out of the State University issues here in Texas. So let's go to that cut real quick. That's what Critical Race Theory is. I don't want my seven grandkids going to school, and being told that they're a racist at the age of seven or eight. And I don't want some black or brown childhood told that they're a victim. This is America. And if more than ever, those kids go to school, they're friends with each other. They don't see things as kids saw things back in 1950, or 1920. Or whenever it was. And so your T says, we're gonna teach it. I tweeted out, well, you're publicly funded, we banded in K through 12. We'll just ban it. In higher ed. They came back and said, We're literally they said their tweet was, we're not accountable to you in the legislature, and we're not accountable to the Board of Regents. Now we're all accountable, to the bank, to our employees, to our employers, to our wives, or husbands to our kid, we're all accountable. No one's above accountability. And they are above accountability. So I guess we have to attend if he was Oh, my goodness, we're gonna have tenure. We'll never get a you will never get in America hating capitalist hating person to come to teach work stuff again. Well, good. I don't want him in Texas. I don't want someone who's teaching our college students the next year reason you ask the question why so many young people today, kind of are anti American, anti capitalism and anti business and you're all bad people because your business is because what they're taught on the college campuses, make no mistake, including Texas, not everywhere, not every class. So tenure says once you've taught, you know, once you've been there for six or seven years, you can ever be fired for almost anything. And so, and I have, by the way, I have chancellors and professors tell me all the time, damn, please fix this. I can't say anything, because we're running out of time, but please fix it. That was before this came up. So we're gonna reform it, we're gonna look at it. We're gonna do some things on Sunday. I hope we do in the house. But we've got it with you. You can say, the arrogance of saying we're not accountable to the people and pay your salaries. Look, I believe in academic freedom. But there's a difference between academic freedom and say, America is evil. Capitalism is bad. There's a difference. And there'll be plenty of professors who will be happy to come to Texas. So it sounds like under Lieutenant Governor Patrick's leadership, our Senate is going to try to take the fight right to the schools. But I want to share some positive news. It's not just about what's kind of being planned and what's in the works and various legislatures and various politicians coming up with ideas, but there's been some work done and I heard something just recently in North Carolina, so at the at the University of North Carolina, but like North Carolina as a state is kind of its kind of purple. So they've got a Democrat governor. There. Lieutenant Governor, though is Republican. Both are senators are Republican, but I think they have more Democrat members in Congress than they do Republicans but it's fairly split. It's not quite it's like 6040 or something like that. So it's a very purple kind of state. But Fox News had on just last week, a gentleman David Bullock, I think Bo liek. Bullock, who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, so UNC UNC, the Tar Heels, where Michael Jordan went and played his college basketball. And, and, and so Chairman Bolick discussed on Fox News that the school made a recent decision to form a school there at UNC focused on civic life and leadership. And you actually commented on the chancellor there at the university who said, quote, as the nation's first public university, we have a responsibility to be a place that brings people that brings together people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints, to debate the issues of our day. These are skills our students, and we as citizens need to be stewards of our democracy. And he talked about how this is all about balance. And one of the things he said was, we have no shortage of leftist and progressive views on campus. We just don't have much on the right. And this is an effort to remedy that. And the thing is, is that conservatives, free speech advocates, you never hear them going around saying we don't want to hear about about left progressive ideas. We're all in on having the debate talking about facts. But it's the left, it's the Democrats that wants to silence. It's the left that wants to shut down opposing views. And so the university came out and said, No, in fact, we're going to create a school within the university that focuses on bringing together different viewpoints, and having the honest debate and ensuring that there is a platform in place for conservative ideas to be expressed and shared. One of the other things he said was that he believes that thoughtful disagreement is what's required in order to find solutions. I mean, that's common sense. That's what we all learn. So what you learn in life is that you need to understand all the other viewpoints in order to find the best possible solution for any problem that you solve, whether it's at home with this with your your kids in the workplace, the more that you can see things through a different lens, a different perspective, the stronger you'll be, in whatever opinion, belief argument that you have. And he also said that this was a universal vote from the Board of Trustees. This is fantastic. It's fantastic news. So look, all is not lost in our universities will. We know that more and more conservatives are stepping up and demanding that freedom applies not just to the left, but to the right as well. And we were more people are saying education is not synonymous with indoctrination. Education is not synonymous with indoctrination. Just because you want to and need to educate somebody doesn't mean that you indoctrinate them. The personal beliefs of faculty, staff, and administration are just that their personal beliefs, not necessarily facts. So students should be afforded opportunity opportunities to challenge to debate and to shape their own opinions, really in order to become the best version of themselves. And so kudos to UNC. I mean, I certainly appreciate what Governor, Lieutenant Governor Patrick was was saying there and what he hopes to do with the universities here here in Texas. I love what they did there at UNC. And I think we're gonna see more of it. But we talked about this last election in November about a red wave coming. Didn't necessarily come at the polls, but I think we're seeing a red wave happen in our communities. And we're seeing alumni and leaders step up in the states saying you can't make our universities woke. They need to be they need to be balanced. So will thank you again for your email. And again, to all my listeners out there. Don't be shy. Send me your comments. Send me your or ideas, ask a question. Challenge me. It's all good. I read them all. And, you know, maybe there'll be more Mailtime segments, and we'll chat about them here. So drop me an email at Ben at Ben armenta.com. One thing I want to do before we get too far into this episode, is I want to take a few moments and reflect on the Tyree Nichols death in Memphis. And this is such a complicated situation. We certainly more unanswered questions, then. Then straightforward facts. I mean, I don't think all the facts of what happened that evening have have come to light and we have a long way to go in that process. I mean, we just found out that a six officer was removed from the from the police force. And I think an investigation is pending, if not also a removal for some first responder, some firefighters or EMTs, because of inaction when they when they got on onto the scene there. So before we go far too far here, I just want to be clear. I'm very pro police. On my back, the blue kind of guy defend the thin blue line flag been controversies or around that flag over the last handful years don't know why. Police keep us safe in our communities. And so I'm a huge supporter of that I've got got a cousin who is a Federal officer and an uncle who was a sheriff, multiple friends who are officers when one of my buddies went to went to college with him at at a&m, and he's a volunteer sheriff's deputy in in Harris County. His name's Nick, Nick, he raises raising three or four kids, I believe, is a small business owner and real estate. And yet somehow he's got time to put on the badge on the weekends, and patrol Lake Houston area. Really all this to keep community safe. So being an officer, regardless, if you're a border patrol agent, or a school resource officer, or a city cop, it gets tough. It's tough. And often it's it's thankless. But as as a member of society, as a conservative as someone who enjoys you aware where I live, and I appreciate each and every one of you who approach your job with humility and with discipline. And the details surrounding the Tyree Nichols death, they still need to unfold. And I'm a firm believer in innocent until proven guilty. It's a bedrock. It's a bedrock of our democratic republic. It underpins so much of our justice system. And those officers and any others involved that that day that evening. They're going to receive their day in court, and they'll receive the opportunity to defend their actions or inactions. But I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a law enforcement officer either. I'm just just dad political commentator conservative. And but I watched the the body cam footage and I'm just gonna say it here. That was disgusting. And it was heartbreaking. It was very hard to watch. And I'm afraid that yet again 1% of bad cops is tarnishing the reputation of 99% good cops. And I watched the interviews with with Mr. Nichols, his mom. And it was it was hard it was it was touching. So those those types of things that didn't used to get to me, but maybe maybe it's because I'm a dad whose kids are just a few years away from being out on their own. As a pro life conservative to me, that means more than just being anti abortion. It means that those who are in positions of power Our doctors, nurses, counselors, elected officials, judges, and of course, police officers, those who are in positions of power, must appreciate that they are entrusted with the care of others, and that they are going to be held accountable to the rest of us for putting themselves second to those that they are entrusted to take care of. Period. On a previous episode, I talked about the erosion of religion in today's society. And that erosion, as it's been multiple generations in the making. It's been brewing since after World War Two, and I heard a great quote this week. I can't recall who said it. I think I saw it on on TV, but could have been social media. But I don't want to take credit, I just want to echo it. And the quote was, it's not sex or race that determines the ruler. It's the values of the ruler. And therein lies what I believe to be at the root of the evil that I saw in those videos. I didn't see officers under attack. I didn't see lives of citizens being put in jeopardy. I saw a confused citizen who was not only beaten to death, but his attackers celebrated it. My question is, are we as a society, I'm going to hold them accountable. And I hope I hope that we do, what we see on display are the values or better yet, the lack of values held by those officers, former officers, and we're in a spiritual freefall. And I believe that's what manifested itself on those Memphis streets. I pray for the healing of Tyree Nichols family. And I pray that the truth continues to come out. And that justice is dutifully applied by our courts. And we'll follow up on the story. They're not just weeks, but months and maybe even years to go on this. And it's it's going to be a challenge for everybody. It's going to challenge our law enforcement officers that 99% who are out there, it's going to challenge conservatives. I hope there are more conservatives that continue to speak out and say what they saw isn't right. And something needs to be done about it. Like I have no problem taking different positions on issues when you follow the facts. And as I mentioned, I'm a back the blue conservative. I support law enforcement wholeheartedly. Assuming they're doing their job. That's certainly not what I saw on the on those videos. So I'll share with you one of the thing. There's a book written by Judge Robert Bork, if you recall, bork was an appellate judge who was appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Reagan. And ultimately the the US Senate blocked the nomination and he never He never made it to Supreme Court. And his name comes up all the time. Anytime there is a Supreme Court justice nomination process that's underway and they're looking at candidates and the majority that's in the in the Senate, they might be talking about blocking it they and sometimes they refer to it as you know being borked. It's pretty, pretty famous what happened there but he was a smart guy. Anyway, Judge Bork wrote a book that is very good, but I'll warn you, it is very academic. And it's very cerebral. So it's not, it's not light reading. So it's not something that you would sit down on a beach on vacation and read through it, but it's kind of it's the kind of book that you might want to just take one chapter at a time or cherry pick certain parts out of it. But it is It's a fascinating look at some of the moral decay that's occurred in American society. So the book is title, Slouching Towards Gomorra modern liberalism, and American decline. So, so if you if you Google, search, Amazon, find whatever, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, or book by Robert Bork, it'll definitely come up. So if you're interested in understanding the history around American moral struggles over the last 60 years or so, check out this book. I mean, it's deep, but it is definitely eye opening. Okay, so let's shift gears towards why we're here, bringing more conservative families into the arena, rolling up their sleeves, and getting after it. So today, we're chatting with Celine Sebium Salim is a good friend of mine who happens to be a longtime volunteer poll worker. So over the last couple of episodes, we've spent a lot of time reviewing election integrity, and understanding the issues from the point of view of a candidate Kyle Scott, who ran for Harris County Treasurer. However, our team thought it'd be great if we could speak firsthand with someone who actually rolls up their sleeves during election season, and works to ensure that each and every single one of us has a good experience when we go and cast our votes. So Celine, welcome to the show. Thank you, man, thank you for having me. Very happy to be here. Definitely, we're glad you're here. So before we get into what it means to be an election worker, and sort of your roles and responsibilities, when you do that, I'd love for you to share some of your backstory with our listeners and kind of how you came to conservatism. And the Republican Party, I know, I know, is a you know, a bumpy ride and adventurous ride to get there. But I'm sure it makes casting your votes, all that much more special. So tell us a little bit about about your background. Absolutely. So, you know, as you know, I am immigrant from Honduras. I'm a US citizen now. And when I came, you know, we did not we were not allowed to vote in Honduras, because I wasn't in the military. So when I joined the Air Force Academy in Honduras, you know, I was picked to be one of the four candidates to be sent to the US. So when I came to the US, I happened to meet a family, very conservative family who was sponsoring international students at the airbase that I was in San Antonio, Texas. So that family had a big influence on me on how the US works. You know, they introduced me to the culture, they helped me learn the language very faster than than I would have if I had not met them. And in the end, you know, that that that Corporal introduced me to the daughter, and you know, we ended up getting married through the, you know, after a few years, so, well, that was fortunate. That was fortunate. Yeah. So, so when you were in Honduras, and did you know much about the United States? Had you? Had you ever been here before? Before you received that that transfer through the Air Force? Or was it all new when you when you got here? Well, I had been one time for a week, my parents took us to Disneyland when I was 15 years old. And, you know, but answering your original question, what did I know about the US pretty much I had a very excu idea what the US was, you know, I knew the videos, I knew the music that was coming through MTV, I knew what the teachers were telling me in high school, which was a very communist lien education that we received because of the influence of Nicaragua, communism at that time. And, you know, propagating through through the school system. And, you know, for us, the, the US was the enemy was, you know, the Empire that needed to be to be needed to be defeated, and communism was the was the answer. So, you know, I never care about politics. I really didn't, didn't care. So, you know, when I came to the States, the first time for a week, you know, it was just the snare can went home. But then when I came to the military, made a family and started talking about you know, the values why is this country the way it is, you know, how was it founded, you know, Whilst the history about it, you know, all of a sudden it opened my eyes, you know, and that's how I started realizing that this country, it was more than what I was taught, you know, so it opened my eyes to a whole new, a new version of the US that I always, you know, had from, you know, TV music teacher. And, you know, it really, it really impacted me the way that I that I saw the world and my country back. So what what were some of those big differences? I mean, you had, you're, you're growing up, you're getting lessons from from the teachers, they're, they're painting one picture of the United States, and the people and what it's all about. And then you come and experience something totally different. What was it that they were teaching you guys back back home? So, you know, what we were being taught, it was pretty much that the, you know, the Americans were bad, you know, they were the Empire. They just needed, they just wanted, they just care about the money about what they can use the country for, and nothing in return, that they did not accept other people's, from other other cultures. And the, you know, the communist literature that we receive, it was all against us, you know, so there was a Ronald Reagan opened a base in Honduras back in the 80s, to help the countries and combat the Nicaraguan since Sandinistas, and, you know, they were called, you know, they were invaders. They were, you know, killing our people and what have you, they were just using us for, for our resources, you know, which all we had was banana plantations, and coffee again, you know, we don't have oil or anything like that, you know, but to your point, and I want to bring this home is what impacted me, Ben was, how was this country founded? And how was Honduras founded, and then how the whole Latin America was, was founded. That, to me was the starting point. You know, when I noticed that, you know, Spain came to Latin America, pretty much to steal, to indoctrinate for their own benefit. And then I compare to how the, you know, those people that came from from England and the Mayflower came in, stay here, and started giving back and start creating a new nation that it was different from, where they came from, you know, they were Christians, they were, they had morals, they had a true north. And that to me impact them, because I have never seen that in, in my country in our constitution is not even close to what the US Constitution is, you know, so when I realized that, I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, everything started like falling in place. You know, why is it that Latin America is the way it is? Because of where we come from? Fascinating that, that answers some of that question. It does. So do you have a favorite founding father? I do. I do. Well, to me is Adams, you know, he's definitely John rmcs is one of my my favorites. And I think the best quote that I like about him is when he said that our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. And when the when the I don't know, if you remember, HBO had a series on him. You know, I watched it all because it was really fascinating for me to I did not see it, but I do recall them putting that out. It was a multi episode. Series, right? Yeah. Yeah, it's pretty, it's very well, well represented for being HBO. And then the other one, too, will not Rolesor but maybe to a similar level, you know, definitely. Jefferson is another I've been in his house out there in in the Virginia area, and also yours, Washington, you know, those three have really, you know, impacted me the way they serve the country, the way they thought about the country, and how they put a foundation and they risk a lot, you know, so, and I think all that it goes back to education, you know, in in Honduras, Latin America, at least where I grew up, you know, maintaining you know, uneducated was the goal or educating you the way they want you to be educated. You know, here you come and you have options. You can be educated, or you can be ignorant if you remain ignorant if you want, you know, but you have choices here, you know, and to me that was the was an eye opening experience have been? So back to your, your host family and your wife? What? What was the conversation like around voting, and the decision process that they as individuals or family would go through to determine who they're going to? They're going to vote for? What was it? Yes. Yeah. So, my enlasa Their name is are Tom and Karen, you know, Karen is a very involved person in the, in the Republican Party, you know, her, her dad was an Air Force pilot, you know, flew in World War Two, and Vietnam, and Korea, and retire as a as a colonel in Wyoming. And he passed that legacy to their kids, you know, to my my in laws, my mother in law, us to, you know, being responsible, you know, getting involved, getting educated, voting, and educating yourself before you vote for the person because that person is representing you, you know, making the decision that you want them to do for you, not the other way around. So Karen will always tell me, you know, Sally, and before you go vote, you know, I'm not telling you to vote Republican, I want you to look at the issues and look at the person that is going to represent you. And, you know, that was the, that was the ideal, and by voting, that's how you get involved in the community, you know, as an immigrant to me, I just wanted to be, I just wanted to become like an American, you know, I do not deny my, my roots, you know, I'm from Honduras, I'm Hispanics, English is my second language, but I want it to be assimilated in the American culture. And for me, the assimilation was, forget, or stop doing the things that were not right, and start moving in the right direction. That, you know, in my case, my biblical and my biblical beliefs, you know, line for a line for you know, and then when I saw that, Jefferson, and John Adams and George Washington, they all had those, those huge, you know, Christian principles that we believed in, I was all for I was all for that. I love, I love the story of and the memories you have around, Karen, talking to you about the process to cast your vote and and to reach a conclusion on who is the better of the candidates, you know, I, I think back to when I first started voting, and I voted when I was 18 years old. And I remember being excited about voting and being very interested in it. But and I remember a lot of conversations I had with my family. All my major milestones, right? When you when you start to drive, or you get into high school, or you're looking for colleges or whatever, your faith, Congress, all different types. I don't really remember a conversation that I had with them about voting and about the discernment process to choose who's the best candidate or who aligns with your values or your belief system. And, you know, on this on this show, we talk a lot about things that people can do to get involved in politics. And I think there might not be anything more important in our democracy than voting, and may not be anything more important from protecting democracy, then moms and dads having discussions with their, their kids, and eventually, teenagers before they go vote about that process, and about thinking it through so that they step into the booth with wisdom, you know, they're going to bring their faith, they're going to bring their family, they're going to bring their values, they're going to bring all that with them. But are they reflecting on that? And that's so important, right? It is it is. So you I mean, it's just this this, this journey that you were on to get to get to this point continues to intrigue me. Because not only did you embrace this idea of assimilation, which by the way, I mean, it's feels like the left treats assimilation as a four letter word these days right. assimilation is can bring so many Good rich things to the individual and the community. What Why do you think that is? What Why do you think the left treats it as a four letter word? You know, to me been, the whole thing is control. You know, they want to, they want to control you. And one example that I can I can share with you, when I came to the US, I immediately went to community college. And I applied to a community college in San Antonio. It's called Palo Alto College. And I remember, after I signed up my classes, there was a table there. And it was something called La Raza. And I said, Hey, you want to come and join us? You know, and you know, we will protect you, we'll let you know this. And I was like, No, I can't think for myself, you know, what do you guys do? Well, we'll basically they were saying, We will defend you. And that sounded to me, like the unions in Honduras, you know, I worked for six months as a as an electrician in a electrician, company, electric company in Honduras. And when the Union came to me to tell me that they were going to protect me, and I knew the corruption that was going on there as I don't need you guys. I can, I can think for myself. So answering your question to me is control control, and just keeping the people where they think they need to be, you know, to me, why and upon the state. Right, exactly. Exactly. Right, being being dependent on them. So they can get when did you start to get more involved? And and say that you wanted to? To help out with elections? Or? Or was that even the first thing? Did you? Did you volunteer get involved with any campaigns or anything before that? No, no, that man. So let me let me tell you the story of how my wife and I got involved. One Sunday, we're, you know, resting, I was watching soccer in the living room, and I was gonna hear knock on the door. And this guy, you know, about my age, you know, comes to the door, just dressed as a, you know, some regular guy. And he said, Hey, you don't know me, my name is James Clayton. I just want to I just want introduce myself and ask you, you know, are you would you would you like to be involved in, in the been election clerk. And at that time, the election had just happened. You know, there was some issues with the machines, and, you know, some some issues that elections always have is there, and I'm just, I'm just sick and tired of, you know, not doing anything, I just want to do something, and I'm just knocking on doors to see who would like to do that. So, you know, the guy looks very believable look very sincere and honest, and kind of struck a chord with me, and I say, you know, James, I'm, I'm interested in this. So, you know, he gave me a name. I mean, I'm sure a number of places where we will meet on, and we went and met at a restaurant and about 2030 people showed up. And he said, you know, guys, this is, this is what I'm planning to do, I want us to get involved with the, with the Republican Party here in the Harris County, and started getting training started getting involved or getting you guys volunteering in areas where we can use you, you know, and I said, Okay, let's, let's go for it. So that's how I started, you know, just by somebody knocking on our door saying, This is who I am. And will you be interested in doing that? I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's great that you guys said, we're willing to give this ago and and try this out. But let's give this James guy some credit. Yeah, he just reached a breaking point, the straw that broke the camel's back and said, I need to do something, and I can't do it alone. But I'm willing to go out there and knock on doors of strangers, and see if they're willing to be a part of this. I mean, that is, that's incredible. And, you know, hats off to James to get Yes, he is. He's still doing it, you know, he still goes out on the weekends and then goes knock some doors, especially before the elections and tries to get as many people as he can to get involved. So that's how I got involved, you know, because I wanted to get involved in but I didn't know how I didn't know who to go to it No way, you know, you know, you know, you want something that is close to you that you know, that you can they can impact you know, what you can impact and on your circle of impact. So, you know, this opportunity, you know, I was like this sounds pretty good to me, you know, so, I was wanting to get involved and you know, when I did it the first time I went and took the class tickets about a three hour class that you had to take, okay and online and then you volunteer. I will also I was so excited, because you know, where I came from Ben. I never would have been able to do that never only the you whereas, you know, an immigrant, from a third world country can come here become a citizen and start getting involved. At least at this level, you know, I'm not yet going to go. But I'm doing my part where God has put me, you know, and I'm just happy. I was so excited that I was doing my part, you know, and I still have the little, the little button up, you know, button they gave us to, to put ourselves and I still have the, you know, the sticker because that means a lot to me. And you're right. That is, that is a very unique characteristic of American democracy, which is, our democracy, including the elections are run by the people. And, and if we want to keep our elections secure, if we want people to trust our elections, if we want people to have faith in the outcomes, then we need more citizens to step into these roles and to participate and help facilitate these these important processes like like voting. So you get the training. So first of all, how many years ago was this? Give or take? Oh, this was about? Let's see, the last election was on 22,022. Right now to 2020. So it was on the 16th. Okay, on the 16th. Yeah. Okay. So, I've been doing it a while, then. What was the day one, you show up? Well, what was it like, to the training or to the booth? Yeah, yeah. So you know, you have to get up really early in the morning, like five in the morning. Okay, if only one day, and I went to both, I went to the early voting, work for early voting, and I work on election day. So on election day, that's when you go really early, when you got early voting, you go a little later. But you know, we went to a church here close by on near the house, where we live, and we help, you know, pretty much set up all the, all the boring voting booths that they have, at that time, you know, connect the, the wires, make sure that all the forms, the tables are set up, make sure that all the signs that are by law that you need to put outside are in place, and you know, you just help with whatever they they asked you to help, right. And then when you're about to vote, we will, you know, we're about to open the door, we'll get together, there's an election clerk, like a judge, you know, one from each party, where you have to swear that you will do your job in an ethical and honest way. And, you know, there's representatives from both from both parties, and then you are assigned to, you know, either a table to check for IDs, or you know, to provide the the, you know, the the paper for the people to go to go vote and put in the machine or you're assigned on the on the machines to show them people how to do it. In my case, I help people translate into Spanish and I help helping people who were needed some, some help with, with Spanish as my wife as well, you know, was assigned to that, or just being on the door, helping with ADA, people has Ada and needs, you know, to help them, you know, either how to do it from their car or from the situation. So you're trained on all that, and, and you're also trained on what not to say what not to do. And all that, I mean, nothing, nothing. Rocket Science. Right? If you don't train for this, if you don't think about the scenarios and prep for them, then you get caught off guard. So do they? Do they train you on what to do? If you see something that isn't right, or unethical or off from what you're expecting? Yes. If there's any discrepancies, you know, whether on the ID or on the Malian vote, or or whatever, it could be, whatever the situation, you know, you bring that to the, to the to the judge, that is present there. And, and then he does take it from there, you know, but in my case, I was kind of like the first first front, you know, the first the first phase, and then after that, I just reported it to the judge, and then the judge takes it from there, you know, and again, every polling location should have a Republican judge there as well. Yeah. And Democrat. Yeah. And, you know, sad that at times, there's only one from what because there's not enough people who wants to volunteer and get the training and you know, put the time You know, so they're always looking for volunteer, they're always looking for people who can least help on on on election day, you know, people that could translate, you know, we have a lot of Hispanics from Venezuela, Colombia, in our, in our area, there's a lot of Vietnamese, you know, Asian descent and people that need also help and wanting to vote. And lately, a lot of people like from Afghanistan from, you know, the countries of the Middle East that they speak, you know, Arabic or anything like that. And, and, you know, those are, you know, we're getting more and more diversity on the other booth when I was there, it was somebody from Brazil, speaking Portuguese, myself speaking Spanish, and then some ladies from China, you know, speaking Mandarin for Wow. I mean, it's, it's amazing what it takes to pull it off. And to pull it off? Well, you had to have people that understand the election laws, you had to have people that understand an election laws, not just federal but the election laws really at the state and county levels. Absolutely, yeah, primarily, that's where it's governed. And then and then you have to have all these volunteers and workers who are prepared to deal with these different situations, because ultimately, what we want is for as many Americans as possible to go vote like that, that success, it must drive you nuts, seeing the data that shows that less than a third of Americans are voting and all these elections zactly pretty painful. It is it is and it makes me you know, sad in some ways, because where I came from, you know, I mean, people wanted to vote and they couldn't, you know, they couldn't, because they wanted to have the representation. And, and here we have that freedom, and we just give it for granted, you know, and, and sadly, even in our churches, and even in our conservative circles, you know, even in my family, some of some of the my family members, you know, they they feel like, they don't want to pull him away vote, you know, why? It doesn't is a will make a difference. And I'm like, Yes, it will, you know, plus, you have to do your civic duty, you know, to vote in pass that legacy to the next generation. Yeah, I I agree. I find that social media. Sometimes it gives a false sense to people that, that they're doing something about the issues in society, or the challenges or, you know, as they are posting on social media, you know, their point of view on something, really all they're doing is just chiming in with their friends and their current circle, they're not really materially moving the needle on it. And you have, if you really want to change public policy, it starts with casting your own vote. Yes. Absolutely. So if I wasn't there on the election last time, that was one by one vote. Yeah, I can remember in Pennsylvania somewhere, you know, yes. Yes. There's been several of those that have come down to the wire. So what's your what's your advice to anyone who is thinking about doing this? And they it's kind of in the back of their mind, and they're listening to you? And they're like, Okay, maybe, maybe now's the time, maybe this is a sign that I should be doing something, what's your advice to them? So you know, speaking as a as an immigrant, and I know, there's a lot of immigrants in our area. And Katie is a lot of people who have immigrated and have become citizens. I will say to them, to get involved, just remember where you came from, and see the opportunity that this country is giving you, and why are you here, you're here because this country has given you opportunity that your own country did not give to you or not given to you and you want a better future for your kids. So if you want to pass that legacy, look at why are you here, once you have the why, and then you say what can I do, you know, to pass that legacy to remain this country the way it is, you know, and get educated but also been very intentional about not just say, you know, I'm going to do this and not being actually you know, put on your calendar, you know, who I can talk, who can I who can I reach out to start getting involved on this, you know, and you know, James Clayton has done a fabulous work, you know, a good example of, you know, he was he just retired, he's like, you know, I want to do something and he started doing this and he has definitely been Make an impression not just on me, but in a lot of people, you know. So those are the two things I will say are the most important. You know, think about the why are you here and then think about the what can I do to pass that legacy to the next generation, you know, and to keep this country the way it is to keep giving what has been given to you and have given to me oscillate this is it's been great hearing your story, it's been great. Understanding what it what it was that got you involved at this level. And you know, the the call to action for all the other listeners is to just do something, get get off the sidelines, step onto the field, because the the conservative movement, and the Republican Party welcomes you onto the team, get get involved, roll up your sleeves, whether it's one conversation, knocking on somebody's door, whether it's, you know, given $10 to a candidate, whether it's putting a yard, sign out, whether it's volunteering on election day to check those all important IDs to make sure the right people are voting, all those pieces help ensure that we are maintaining our democracy. So that that is the call to action here. So Selena, thank you again for joining us today. Your story is absolutely one of of hope, and patriotism. And I'm certainly glad that that you immigrated and are a part of, of the conservative team here. So I really appreciate you joining me today. Thank you. Yeah, thank you for having me. And I hope that my story inspires others to do the same thing. Let's all take a cue from saline. Our options are this one, we can sit back, observe. We can complain about everything that's broken. Or worse, we can just stick our head in the sand or two, we can stand up and say, Put me in coach. I'm ready to take a swing. I just need that bat. I'm ready to invite others to join me, like James Clayton did knocking on doors, or I'm ready to volunteer, even though I'm stepping into it blindly, like Celine and his wife did. Regardless of the path that makes the most sense for you and your family. Just do something. Thank you so much for listening, everybody. As always, you can email me your thoughts to Ben at Ben armenta.com. I'll be sure to like follow and share this podcast with your family and friends. On our next episode, we're going to take a look at public schools, what's working, what's broken? And ultimately, what's the story behind school choice. Until then, thank you for listening. And God bless. The answer with Ben Armenta is brought to you today by Gambit construction, a leading multifamily general contractor, they have over 50 years of experience in renovations, restorations and rebuilds. But most importantly, they have strong conservative values just like you and me. Visit them today at Gambit construction.com