Yesterday was Election Day. And like many American holidays, Election Day has become quite the commercial affair.
Unlike Christmas, which now officially kicks off the day after Halloween, Election Day festivities are a little more fluid. Rather than BAM! POW! SLAP YOU IN THE FACE (at least initially), things creep up on you, little by little, until you’re so mired in the muck you can barely breathe.
First, come the signs. One or two appear out of nowhere, standing stark against the still-green grass. Like teenagers without a posse, they look lonely and a little unsure. VOTE YES on 1! Trust our wildlife biologists and VOTE NO. You might have a clue what they’re referencing, but then again, you might not. No worries! Within weeks, YOU WILL KNOW. Soon every inch of grass from here to Canada is littered with the offspring of those first signs, some larger, some smaller, all red, white, and blue, pleading PICCCK MEEEE. The ones you support are fine. The rest you dismiss with scorn. But by Election Day, all of them are a blight. You can’t wait for them to be gone, and the day after the election (today) you make a mental note of which candidates have failed to come collect their stupid signs and recycle them. Especially if you dislike them.
Next are the mailings. I received several this year, targeted specifically to me. Even though I am a registered independent, they knew exactly which buttons to push. Clean water? CHECK. Women’s issues? Oh YEAH. Campaigns are crafty. They do their homework. And they have what it takes to get to know me. Not personally, of course. There’s not much door-to-door campaigning nowadays. And since I’ve stopped using Facebook and rarely look at Twitter, they can’t shove their message down my throat via social media. So instead they data mine. I say with 100% certainty (pure guesswork) that several companies I’m affiliated with must have sold my name and the names of other like-minded folk invested and/or interested in certain issues. How else could things be so specific? Not one AARP message. Nothing for the (unnamed) party that I am less-than-enthused about. Only certain candidates, with very specific points. It’s enough to make you feel like a target. Because you are.
When the signs have lost all efficacy and the mailings are in the bin, the radio and television ads really begin in earnest. For weeks, they trickle from the media outlets, each message dripping its way into your psyche until the inescapable waterfall crescendo deafens you to much else. I went shopping on Monday; the store was playing a local radio station over the PA. I knew to expect an ad or two, I mean, elections were the very next day. But in the 45 minutes I was there, I heard no fewer than twenty political ads, most of them back-to-back between songs. Between the corny content and/or the sheer offensiveness of it all, I came off hating pretty much everyone involved – the candidates and even the radio station, too.
Thankfully, yesterday was Election Day. Many citizens exercised their right to vote for whomever-they-damned-well-pleased, and I commend those who took the time to make their voices heard. I, too, took to the polls, and last night awaited the results with interest. Regardless of who won, I am rejoicing. Why? NO MORE POLITICAL ADS! Till next year, at least.