Today is mid-term election day which means that, in addition to ousting the old politicians and bringing in a few new ones, the horribly written, cheaply produced TV spots for some of the least-intelligent members of our population will finally cease. And as much as I'd like to be able to quote specific ads in order to rip on them, I'm not able to do that due to my tendency to either: A) Hit the mute button as soon as I see an angry slow-mo face on my screen, paired with a giant red font that says "LIAR!"; B) Change the channel when I see a perfectly groomed family sitting on their front step, exchanging knowing smiles and talking about small-town values while petting the family dog; or C) Ripping the TV off my wall and hurling it out the window when I see an image of Michele Bachmann in my home.
Voting is a right and a privilege, so I highly recommend that you find the time today to get out there, find your polling place, stand in line (hopefully not next to that guy with the unbearable body odor) and fill in the little circle next to the candidate that you feel will do the least amount of damage over the next few years. And then, when you're done, you can go home and raise a toast to a future that includes a balanced budget, lower taxes, better healthcare, and the return of all those TV spots for tampons. Because even though commercials for tampons are annoying, at least I know when they claim to have "better leakage protection," it isn't code for something else.
(The following was originally posted on August 9, 2010.)
Even though my family has always been involved in politics (as in working for senators and serving on the House of Representatives), I dislike politics. I don't like to discuss it with friends, I don't enjoy listening to other people debate about who is better than who or who is right and who is oh so very, very wrong, and I definitely don't like politics during election years.
Tomorrow is primary election day and it can't come soon enough. I am so tired of listening to monotone radio spots and seeing horribly written TV ads for all of the candidates. No matter what they're claiming they can do or how inferior they think the other candidate is, all I manage to hear is "Hi, my name is Jimmy and if you elect me as your class president, I'll add two hours to recess." I know that the primary elections are a long way from the final outcome as to who the actual winner will be sometime in the fall, which means that there will be many, many more ads in the near future, but at least some of the candidates will be back at their usual jobs, teaching school or flipping burgers or selling meth or whatever it is they were doing before they started making TV commercials that make me want to rip my eyeballs out and jab ice picks deep into my eardrums.
Since I always seem to lose track of which candidate has the DWI and who wants to raise the taxes and whats-his-name that has small town values, I decided to make a translation guide as to what I think the wannabe politician is really trying to say.
What they say: I'm taking my principles directly to the people.
What I hear: See me wearing this plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up? Standing in a farm field and nodding empathetically as these workers tell me about their financial woes? I'd really rather be somewhere else. Like golfing. I like golfing. I think these people would be a lot happier if they all learned how to golf.
What they say: I have a common-sense agenda.
What I hear: I really have no idea what I will do when I get into office because one person only has so much power and everyone knows that all politicians disagree with each other just so that they can hear themselves argue. But I do plan on keeping M&M's in my desk drawer. Peanut M&M's, actually.
What they say: My administration will focus on clean energy.
What I hear: I suppose I'll have to sell my Hummer. Which I guess is okay, since if elected, I'll get a company car. I wonder if I can get a Hummer...
What they say: We need to turn government into a catalyst for private sector innovation that creates shared prosperity for all.
What I hear: I am an investor in a couple bio-med companies that could use a little bit of government funding. I might even donate some of my bazillion dollars of earnings to a local charity, because after all, making a charitable donation is good for my image.
What they say: I will ensure that the rural areas of our state have Broadband Internet access.
What I hear: I want Internet access when I go to my hunting cabin in the middle of the woods. Sometimes it's impossible to watch "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" over 3G network, and playing online poker is hard when there are glitches.
What they say: I promise to create thousands of new jobs and grow the economy.
What I hear: I have no idea how I will go about doing this, but it sounds really impressive and people that are currently unemployed like to hear me say this. And I like it when people clap for me.
What they say: I will not raise taxes. In fact, I will try to reduce taxes while not creating any new taxes, and I will also balance the budget.
What I hear: I will not raise taxes until I walk into my new office, sit down in my super comfy spinny chair, watch my secretary hang up the requisite picture of a loon, and take a sip of coffee. Then I will raise your taxes, create a couple new taxes, and at no point while I ever come close to balancing the budget.
What they say: I am going to create a unique new kind of transit system -- an all weather, elevated, enclosed skyway system for bikes, segways, scooters and electric wheelchairs.
What I hear: I am insane.
What they say: My cards are on the table.
What I hear: I am not very creative, and I like to play poker. A lot of poker. Like, tons of poker.
What they say: I think there should be signs throughout schools that say RESPECT yourself and your family.
What I hear: I am a genius. Obviously the only reason there is bullying, gangs, fighting, teen depression and cliques is because there aren't any signs in the hallways at school, telling the kids to respect themselves! Why hasn't anyone ever thought of this before!?
What they say: I will promote kindness to animals.
What I hear: I have no clue what the real issues actually are, but I like puppies. Puppies are soft and cute and they lick my face, especially after I've eaten bacon.
What they say: I will build smoother, safer, longer-lasting roads without debt or taxes.
What I hear: I have a huge pothole in my street and I want it fixed. So if that means that I have to cut education funding in order to get my street fixed without raising taxes...um, okay.
What they say: I will make sure that affordable prescription drugs are available to everyone.
What I hear: Prescriptions are too gosh darn expensive right now, especially for pain killers. The price on those pain killers really has to come down, because I like pain killers. Pain killers are good.
Okay, so I guess I don't really hate all of the political ads. Now that I think about it, I kind of like the confidence boost I experience after seeing a Michele Bachmann ad because no matter how stupid I happen to be feeling or how bad my hair looks, at least I know I'm smarter than her. And I have better hair.