We’re closing in on election season. With this being a presidential election year you can bet that there will be plenty of scrambling by both candidates as November 6th draws nearer. Political party affiliations aside, there is one thing I think we might all agree on: that those with intrusive campaign habits aren’t winning any voters.
I remember that in 2008 I quickly grew tired of phone calls during dinner hour. Or those that came in before 10:00 on a Saturday morning. Not to mention the ones that woke my young children after 8:00 on school nights. I would rush to the phone only to be greeted by some obnoxious recorded message from one candidate or the next, bashing his or her opponent while simultaneously singing his or her own praises. At one point, I became so fed up with the shenanigans that I publicly vowed (c’mon, Facebook counts for that, right?) not to vote for any candidate who littered my phone line with audible spam. In the end, I had to recant my vow (not quite so publicly) because, in perusing my ballot, I found that a canned version of each and every candidate’s voice had been on the other end of my phone line at least once during the preceding weeks and months. And really, I wouldn’t be the least bit bothered by campaign calls if the candidate was personally doing the calling. In fact, I’d happily accept a personal call from a senator or the President. We’d spend hours chatting it up. It’s the recorded messages that get under my skin. I can tell you with certainty that no candidate’s thirty second blurb of a message is going to compel me to vote for or against.
If a candidate is to win my vote, he or she has to extend me a certain amount of respect. That is, don’t assume that your time is any more valuable than mine. If you’re going to call me, have the decency to put a human on the other end of the line (even if it’s just a campaign volunteer). And don’t try to fill my head with catchy slogans and meaningless mantras; let your positions show through in your debates and televised town hall meetings. Even in this age of 140-character status updates and DVR’s that allow us to skip your commercials, some of us do care about the issues at hand and make time to educate ourselves on your stance before we head out to the polls.
It’s been awhile, but there was a time when those corrugated plastic yard signs were the next big thing in political campaigns. Maybe it’s a regional thing, but I haven’t seen one of those in a neighbor’s yard for years. With any luck, campaign calls will fall by the wayside soon, too. One can hope, right?