SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
A congressional candidate in Florida drew a little ridicule this week. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, who's one of three Republicans and eight Democrats running in Florida's 27th congressional district, has said that she was taken aboard a spaceship when she was 7 years old. She does not mean at Disney World.
I went in, she says, in a 2009 Spanish-language interview that appeared on YouTube this week. There were some round seats that were there and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship, not like airplanes.
No, indeed, on airplanes these days, you have to pay extra for quartz rocks. Ms. Aguilera says she met three beings aboard the ship, two women and a man, all blond and tall, which sounds a little like the Swedish pop group ABBA. She says their arms were outstretched like the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio and that the beings have communicated with her ever since telepathically. Well, that way you avoid roaming charges.
When the Miami Herald called the candidate for a statement, Ms. Aguilera replied that a couple of former presidents have claimed to see UFOs and said, I join the majority of Americans who believe that there must be intelligent life in the billions of planets and galaxies in the universe.
In fact, a 2012 poll by National Geographic and Kelton Research says 36 percent of Americans believe UFOs exist. Eleven percent say they've seen a UFO. Of course, Ms. Aguilera says she's been aboard a UFO and bantered with the crew, which is a little more involved than just saying you once saw something unidentifiable glow in the sky.
I'm actually impressed that a candidate would acknowledge her contacts with extraterrestrial beings. Many voters say they want candidates from outside the Washington, D.C., bubble. You don't get more outside of that bubble than another planet. A candidate who declares extraterrestrial connections is only being transparent, to use a buzz word of our times. Voters have a right to know. Do the extraterrestrial beings have political action committees? Are there extraterrestrial lobbyists? Do they play golf at a Trump National Golf Club? Are they interested in a free trade agreement with Earth, or do they believe in Alpha Centauri First policies?
I'm also concerned that the candidate says aliens visited Earth when she was 7 but haven't been back. Does that mean they came to Earth in search of intelligent life but said, eh, maybe we just better keep looking?
(SOUNDBITE OF ESQUIVEL'S "HARLEM NOCTURNE")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.