By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Now that the dust has settled and the election is over, the time has come to lick our wounds and move on. As the pundits and political hacks dissect and analyze all the niggling trivialities of the campaign, I just want to meet the “guy”.
You know this guy.
Every election season, every candidate barrages the airwaves with commercials, lawns are splattered with signs, billboards, war dialing, junk mail, and one celebrity endorsement after another.
Well, I really do want to meet that guy.
The guy … the undecided voter whose vote is swayed by a lawn sign. “Umm honey, you know this Maffei guy … I was driving home today and I saw about 2,000 of his signs and yaknow, I been thinking … anybody who can get that many lawn signs out must be a heck of a legislator. I think I will vote for him.”
I want to meet the guy whose vote is swayed by a recorded message from Tony Bennett or Bill Clinton. My darling bride swooned when she first heard his voice on the phone and claims that for a moment, she really thought Tony Bennett was actually calling her and encouraging her to vote for some Democrat. “Because Tony Bennett took time from his heavy concert schedule to send me a taped recording of his endorsement, well I had no choice but to change allegiance.”
While we are on the subject, where oh were is that voter who is swayed by 30 second slam commercials? It must have been a very miserable election season when this independent voter’s mind was being constantly changed by one nasty Republican Congressional Campaign Committee advertisement after another. The poor fellow who is being reached by these commercials probably is on medication from his opinion being changed every 3 minutes.
News organizations never realized why so many people voted and why the polls were slammed early and hard. We wanted it over. This campaign lasted too long and we couldn’t get it over with fast enough.
America has entered a new epoch in her history. As another writer so eloquently encouraged, we should all piss on the four corners of our lives so as to always have this day marked for perpetuity. President Obama; there I actually wrote it. President-elect Obama has but a few hours to relish and rejoice in his completed task. He will learn as we all have that you should take great care in those things you wish for as your wishes may come true. Now the bullseye is on President-elect Obama and his Party to make serious fundamental structural change for the better. In him, millions have placed their hope and dreams that we can be lifted up and made to strive for our better angels.
This is how an election should be; not about who is most moral, but who is best able to do the job. Otherwise, we will get more lawn signs.
What is it about these candidates and the entire electoral process that makes the Parties believe that a lawn sign or ten second commercial or pre-recorded telephone message is going to change a single vote? Has it ever? Is there actually empirical data to show that polluting the airwaves and environment with empty slogans actually helps a voter decide for whom to cast their ballot? Would you want representatives making decisions about your life and death whose ability to get elected is based upon voters whose opinions were swayed by a lawn sign?
A few election cycles ago, the wife and I went for a walk to our polling place and en route we saw signs touting our most despised candidate. Her first option was to rip them out of the ground. I then began the diatribe that you are reading here. If there is one thing even I know about politics and human nature: Imagine someone driving to a poll witnessing us ripping out a candidate’s sign. That is just the kind of act that can change a voter’s mind in an instant. Besides, I had to explain to the wife what happens if she is seen and a picture is snapped. Tomorrow’s front page photo would be of a civil rights lawyer’s wife ripping out a lawn sign. Believing that leaving the sign alone would show the world that the candidate, like his signs, is nothing but a blight upon the scenery, we left the signs alone and went off to do our sacred duty.
So, to whomever you are and wherever you are hiding; to that mystery voter whose decision was made by a lawn sign, telephone recording, or a 5x7 four color glossy postcard mailing “to our friends at” … I really want to meet you. Personally I doubt such a voter exists. But if they do, I bet they would prove Winston Churchill right. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”