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My Jon Kyl Story

posted Wednesday April 13th, 2011

Everyone in Phoenix has a John McCain story, it seems, but not many have Jon Kyl stories.

I do.

It was 1982 or so, and I was sitting in Mr. Kyl’s kitchen.

You know how growing up, you had two kinds of friends — the friends whose parents let you call them by their first name, and the latter? The Kyls were the latter.

Their daughter Kristy was a year ahead of me in high school, and we were both (nerd alert) on the debate team — our file cards, articles and legal pads spread out across the kitchen table. We were hotly arguing some topic, in preparation for a tournament. I don’t recall the exact subject (it could have been abortion, come to think of it), but I can assure you that I was taking the “liberal” position and Kristy the “conservative.”

(I was probably the one and only Democrat at Arcadia High School in the early 1980s, raised by a mother with socialist roots who volunteered for Common Cause. This was many years before he’d announce his candidacy for the House, but it was already clear that Kyl and his family were perched on the far end of the right wing.)

Kristy and I were going at it when I felt eyeballs on me, and turned to realize Mr. Kyl had entered the room and was standing there, listening. This part I’ll never forget — he was visibly shaking, clearly trying to control his anger. And then he spoke.

I’d like to debate you sometime, Amy,” he practically spit, in a tone more appropriate for a colleague on the floor of the United States Senate than a kid sitting in his kitchen.

For the record, that story is entirely factual — to the best of my ability to remember something that happened nearly 30 years ago. In fact, I remember it like it was yesterday.

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Tags: Filed under: politics by Amysilverman

3 Responses to “My Jon Kyl Story”

  1. If Jon Kyl tried the “not intended to be a factual statement” tactic in his debate with you, Amy, I’d bet you would have wiped the floor with him.

    And never been invited back to the Kyl house ever again. Not a loss, probably.

  2. Wow, just catching up on your blog. Love it. You have the skeletons in everyone’s closet. I love it.

  3. It is not possible for me to express how much I love this. I’m only sorry you weren’t able to cash this one in. I can picture it now …. It would probably be as much fun as the “debate” between Steve Twist and the ACLU rep (blanking on his name), which I had the pleasure of seeing while in ASU law school.

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