I recently had no electrical power for a few hours, courtesy of some freakish wind gusts playing havoc with the wires, and it was a blissful time. What? Without all the creature comforts those little volts, amps & currents deliver, how could I feel such bliss? Because no power = no political robocalls coming in on my landline.
Today is Election Day here in the US – and I can’t wait for it to be over. To date, my phone has been inundated with these political calls, as many as 5 within a 2-hour span. If the call isn’t actually bashing the candidate’s rival or rival party, then it’s reminding me to get out there & vote. What? You mean there’s an election coming up? Well, duh!
Like I hadn’t noticed all the mud-slinging, trash-talking political ads on TV, all the full-color “vote for Candidate X” mailers cluttering up my mailbox (exactly how many trees have met their pulp-Maker in this election cycle?), all the election-related articles & editorials in the local/national newspapers. And don’t forget the mailing to good citizens (at least in my state) to inform them of their ability to vote via the mail. How much money was eaten up in printing, processing & mailing costs to get out that critical bit of info – wouldn’t a newspaper ad (print & electronic) have done the same without wasting all the extra paper & money? Seems such a waste.
But the burning question I really want answered, the one that leads me to compose this admittedly cranky blog post, is this: what political campaign wrangler (mangler?) in this era of the Do Not Call list decided that making unsolicited robocalls to the public would be A GOOD IDEA, that such activity would make one look favorably upon ANY candidate?! Who do we blame for this source of irritation, this absolutely fruitless & unnecessary activity?
See, here’s how it works. If one has caller I.D., one does not (usually) pick up a call from a number one does not recognize, nor does one pick up a call from the variety of 800 numbers being used by telemarketers & political campaigns. Hello! That’s the raison d’être for Do Not Call lists & caller I.D. If one does NOT have caller I.D., or does have it and is just really bored and/or masochistic and answers a political campaign call, does one actually stay on the line and listen to the content, or does one scrabble frantically for the off button to end the audio assault? I’m thinkin’ it’s usually the latter option, so yep, fruitless.
One might say, “DOB, you’re being awfully whiney. Just let it go to your answering machine and delete it later,” and that IS what I do, but in my case that still means that I’ve heard the political crapola as it was being recorded on the answering machine. I’m doing my best to tune it out while I work, cook, whatever, as are my kids as they play their video games or do their homework – all in the general vicinity of the answering machine – but certain phrases make it through the haze. You know, things like “Candidate X voted against abortion even for victims of rape or incest.” That’s not really something I want Little Big Ears II (the younger child) to overhear; I’m not yet ready to provide an age-appropriate definition of rape & incest to a grade-schooler. (I must admit, I’d probably take the coward’s way out and begin with something like, “Well, those words have to do with sex,” and REALLY hope to be stopped cold with the standard “yuck, not interested” face. Bullet dodged, DOB relieved.)
Frankly, I think someone needs to put me in charge of the entire political campaign communication process – I’d streamline it and make it bearable. Every candidate will provide me with a list of their “I support/I don’t support” issues by a specific deadline – THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS DEADLINE. All of their information will be summarized, sans BS, in a lovely spreadsheet, which will then be printed in ALL newspapers and posted on their websites – along with a link to each incumbent candidate’s House/Senate voting record so voters can be sure the voting record jives with the stated support/don’t support info. It’s called accountability – GET USED TO IT.
Ta-da!! Public informed, all the issues are explored, and perhaps even more people will actually vote – which is the next item on my To Do list – because they haven’t been disgusted by all the political rhetoric, trash talk and cavalier waste of resources. Problem solved.
Feel free to make me your write-in candidate – it’s spelled Dirty Old Broad.
[I am morally and ethically bound to confess that there IS a positive side to the political robocalls – sprinting to the answering machine to halt calls from Sarah & Newt DOES provide an incredible workout.]