After being almost completely cut off from the world of politics for the last three weeks, I’m finding that not much has changed since I left. Only the small details are different. The situation in Iraq is still getting worse, with another new atrocity scandal making Rummy seem more incompetent and out of touch than ever. Bush is still losing support, as he bumbles through one incoherent statement after another, while evidence trickles in from the many ongoing corruption investigations – none of it looking good for the current administration.
While I’m still slowly coming back to full consciousness about what’s going on at the national level, I was hit immediately with a different perspective on local politics. I just picked up three weeks worth of mail at the Post Office – three weeks immediately prior to a primary election, when political mailings were coming fast and furious. As I sorted through the mail, creating separate piles for various categories, I soon realized that I had a full inch and a half of glossy political mailings, with nearly an inch of it coming from one State Assembly race, where three candidates are waging a heated battle to be the democratic choice in the general election.
Normally, when political mailings arrive one day at a time, I usually scan them and toss them immediately without really keeping track of the volume. This time, while sorting 22 days worth of mail, I found that I had a total of 37 items, most several pages in length. Ironically, I found that one of the candidates, who is most strongly and repeatedly touting her environmentalist credentials, sent 10 mailings. In addition, the same PAC that paid for half of them, also paid for five more mailings attacking her main rival as “being in the pocket of developers.” Apparently it’s OK to be in the pocket of the printing industry!
And it would have been nice to at least include in one of the mailings some assurance that none of them were printed by sweatshop child labor, on paper made from old growth redwood pulp, using toxic ink, on nuclear-powered printing machines!
Another candidate thought it important to tell me, in large glossy print, that she deserves my vote because she is a breast cancer survivor. While I’m happy for her good fortune in making it through a difficult illness, I’m not sure that really matters when it comes to her ability to represent my interests in the State legislature. Neither do the dozens of large signs posted throughout the region showing her name next to the silhouette of a large bird. On the other hand, I guess if I see enough of them by the time I step into the voting booth, I can be absolutely sure that I won’t accidentally cast my vote for a reptile!
I wish I could say how good it is to be back, but at this point, all I can muster is to say that it is amusing! Maybe after the jet lag wears off . . . .