I’ve been getting a pretty good workout by hurdling campaign signs on my morning jog for a few months now. When I got home from work one day last week and checked the mail, I realized the titillating midterm elections are closing in quicker than I thought. The U.S. Mail: The only way mail used to be delivered. I got one of those green recycle bags to haul the expensive, glossy mailers directly to the recycling center. One of my campaign contributions is driving loads of this very informative literature to these bins. There, they eventually will be recycled into toilet paper or something useful.
Taking the expensive high-gloss junk to recycling is only fitting. Most of the candidates are recycling the same campaign promises anyway. Spending the money to mail bags of flashy flyers that damn Elizabeth Redenbaugh to our house seems like a waste of money. Spending billions and billions of dollars every two years during campaign season also seems increasingly ridiculous.
I’m annoyed, but my wife is getting pretty ticked off. And she’s got a point. Frankly, since my mom moved in, our household contains six voting-age adults, not one of whom should be on any political consultant’s list of “persuadable” or “truly persuadable” voters.
My 77-year-old mom has benefitted from union labor, good health care and protected pensions her whole life. To get her vote you’re going to have learn the difference between a retirement fund and a piggy bank for speculation. And get her Tastykakes. Lots of Tastykakes.
My 19-year-old daughter benefits every day from the caring and investment of healthcare and special-education professionals. If you want her vote, you’re going to have to do better than a sleek flyer. You’re going to have to promote and fund healthcare policies that don’t discriminate against individuals with disabilities, fund basic research in science, develop opportunities for mainstream involvement for individuals with a full range of abilities, and respect teachers of students of all ages and abilities. You might even have to pay teachers a decent wage. Oh, and you’ll have to feed her noodles and chicken nuggets. Lots of chicken nuggets.
If you want her brothers’ votes, you might have to dismantle the police state and return a lot of that cool military surplus stuff to Rambo or Dick Cheney. You might have to continue to fund arts education even. That is, if we truly want innovators and not zombies. After that you might take a look at Germany’s economic stimulus package and their decision to provide free access to college education. Many college-age individuals see a degree as a necessary evil, a way to latch onto the lowest rungs of indentured servitude, rather than a means to develop their talents and contribute to the community. You’re going to have to stop bullying their gay friends, stay out of their girlfriend’s pants and legalize marijuana. Also, you’ll have to stop Miley Cyrus while there’s still time.
If you want my wife’s vote, pay women at least as much as men for the same job and double check your voter lists before you address your liar flyers. Do you really think it’s wise to send a deceptive—if not outright fraudulent—voter registration form to a woman that’s been a political and peace activist her whole life? My wife organized one of the first house parties for the current resident of the White House, has been invited to both of President Obama’s inaugurations, has helped organize local campaigns for over a decade, and marched in Manhattan at last month’s Climate Rally. Her name should be in capital, red letters in the do-not-disturb column on any voter mailing lists kept by her not-nearly-as-worthy opposition.
To get my vote? All of the above. And overturn Citizens United somehow in favor of publicly funded campaigns.
The best way to get money out of politics may be to put money in it. Take the big money out and put the little money in. We would reduce funds wasted in campaign season, and I’d be able to listen to Chopin nocturnes on YouTube without being interrupted by some loud, obnoxious campaign ad that pretty much blames Kay Hagan for the Big Bang.