Copyright 2004 Linda Marcas - All Rights Reserved
Candidates, Candidates, Go Away!
....and don't come back another day, either, thank you very much.
George Bush, John Kerry, and all your wives, running mates, entourages,
trains, planes, and tour buses, get out of Ohio, and stay out. I understand
that Ohio is a "battleground state," but do you really think you're going to
win the war for our hearts and minds by disrupting our lives and costing us
In the past few months, you and your various minions have paid us
several visits, but, in the long run, we are the ones who've paid, and paid,
and paid. Your visits cost us delayed flights at our airports, detours and
traffic jams on our streets, and hours and hours of law-enforcement and
security service time. You are a couple of white elephants; we can't turn you
down if you choose to honor us with your presence, even if the honor is one
we can't afford.
I know there are Republican and Democratic committees that pay
some of their candidates' expenses, but I just can't believe that those
committees foot the entire bill. Are those Secret Service guys on some
private payroll while they're protecting whoever happens to be stumping for
votes, or do their paychecks come out of Joe Taxpayer's pocket? Who buys
the jet fuel for Air Force One, who cleans the upholstery if George spills his
coffee, who bought the airplane in the first place?
Even if you could account for all the cash spent on fuel, plushy
armored tour buses, security personnel, the people who set up the bleachers
and the sound equipment, and everything else that has an obvious price, how
can you figure the hidden costs of your campaign tours? How can anyone
pay Grandma for the extra hours she had to wait for her flight to her
granddaughter's wedding, and for the inconvenience that delay caused the
folks at the other end, who'd planned to pick her up at the airport in the time
between their tuxuedo fitting and the rehearsal dinner?
If my local TV channel pre-empts the network soap operas to provide
touchdown-to-takeoff coverage of your visit, do the companies that paid to
run commercials for their products during that soap opera get any sort of
compensation for the thousands of potential viewers that didn't have a
chance to see their ads? More importantly, even if I feel like watching you
give the same speech that you've already given in every other city you've
been to, with the same jokes that I've already heard on the news, who's going
to fill me in on whether Marlena is really the Salem Stalker?
Closing the local streets to local traffic, all so you can drive past at
speeds above the posted limit or hold a rally in the center of downtown
Bowling Green, costs the displaced motorists their time, frustration, and
gasoline as they detour around your disruption. Someone has to clean up
after the crowds that come to see you; who pays for that? What's the
damage to the grass at the Fort Meigs historical site, after fifteen thousand
people have been milling about on it for several hours, the day after heavy
rain, waiting for you to speak?
I'm tired of your television commercials, whether you approved them
or not; it's all the same old he-said/she-said, and your speeches are much the
same. Mouth a few platitudes, try to make those clever phrases sound as
though it's the first time you've spoken them, then pause for the predictable
applause, because you know you're preaching to the choir. Your supporters
might be willing to wait for hours, just to see their candidate "in the flesh,"
but I'd rather you left the traditional glad-handing and baby-kissing to
politicians at the state or local levels; it's cheaper that way, and your
speechifying in shirtsleeves doesn't automatically make me think that you're
Phone it in, boys, if all you have to say is what you've already said
umpteen times before. Use the technology, do the satellite teleconference,
and those of us who don't care to be there will still have to watch the
highlights on the news. Don't disrupt local traffic, regional airports, or
daytime television; save everybody a lot of time and money. You'd both
seem a lot more credible if you had a series of unscripted, televised debates,
fielding questions sent in via computer by the general populace and
randomly selected by machine, with a limit of five minutes per answer. If
you started today, you'd have time do a debate for every state, and you could
start with Battleground Ohio. Meanwhile, if you have nothing new to say,
candidates, candidates, go away!
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