Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fighting Back Against The Robo Callers

["Let Inga Tell You", La Jolla Light, published June 17, 2010]
© 2010

I’m thinking of running for public office on a platform of outlawing automated phone calls from candidates for public office.

Olof and I are registered to different political parties so we not only hear from everyone, whole forests lose their lives just on the mailers.

The irony is, it’s all wasted on us. The fliers go straight to the recycle bin, and the automated calls get quick hang-ups. Unless, of course, it’s some survey person from Olof’s registered party who expects a kindred response and instead gets me.

“Do you believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman?” the caller queries, ready to segue into a bid for cash. “HELL NO!” I exclaim before hanging up. I have a clear conscience doing this as I know that this is Olof’s sentiment as well, even if he is technically registered to the Other Party.

If truth be known, Olof and I are really independents as we both regularly vote across party lines. But it makes dinner table conversation far more fun to debate the other person’s official party plank which is, by definition, whacko.

I couldn’t help but notice that some 90% of the up to twenty-five political calls we were getting daily were from Olof’s affiliation. “Your party must be DESPERATE”, I opined one night.

“Or,” parried Olof, “the Democrats have already given up,” smirking, “Wise of them.”

Being a registered Democrat in La Jolla has actually gotten a little easier over the thirty-some years I’ve lived here. But it used to be that the La Jolla Democratic Club would call me every year asking me to be an officer, having already been turned down by the other three Democrats in town.

And I do have to confess that 2008 was interminable. The only thing lonelier than the Maytag man is a La Jolla Democrat in an election year. But it was not a total loss. I’d long struggled to understand what the term “Family Values” meant and by the end of that year happily announced to Olof that I’d finally got it:

Family Values (noun, pl.) : common human mistakes worthy of compassion, understanding and support unless committed by those outside one’s political and social circle, and/or smarmy Democrats. (See also righteous indignation, flip-flop)

“You Dems are such cynics,” said Olof, whom I might add didn’t argue it.

But I’m digressing. The number of phone calls we received should be an actionable offense. And where, inquiring minds want to know, is the research that shows that harassing people into homicidal rage makes them more likely to vote for you? Inga can only lament that the “Send bazooka to caller” phone option is in its infancy.

In my worst fantasies, I see someone in a voting booth staring at their ballot for the first time. “Well, let’s see. That nice Meg Whitman called us 500 times, so I’ll vote for her!”

Unfortunately, I think Meg Whitman DID call us 500 times. When, of course, Steve Poizner wasn’t calling us. We’d place bets on which one it was with the end result that I think even Olof was sticking pins into the Meg and Steve dolls by the phone.

We recently – alas, too late - heard about a web site where one can opt out of political calls for a year at a time. But they’re going to give our phone number to all the political agencies who might call us and tell them not to do it. We fear that the two agencies that do not now have our phone number will now have it.

Olof and I lived in Sweden in 2005 and 2006 where there can be no campaigning or signage until thirty days before the election. It was so civilized, ja. We’re not likely to get that here but I’m serious about running on an opt-IN program where no political agencies can call you unless you flat-out beg them.

So vote for that nice Inga, the candidate you’ll never hear from. If elected, she promises to let you know if, after all those months of campaign mudslinging, anything actually changes.

1 comment:

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