Yesterday, I became absolutely, unreasonably flipped-out furious. Many things about modern political campaigns enrage me because they violate decency, morals, and ethics. Today, I'm not talking about any of those things. Instead, I'm talking about a political practice that annoys me on a petty, mosquito-nipping-at-my-throat level.
I'm talking about the automated campaign telephone call.
Does anyone find it convincing when you get a call from George W. Bush or Bill Clinton? Does it make you feel all warm inside to have some tape-recorded pol call you friend?
I didn't think so.
Yesterday, after a particularly long day writing, I went to the grocery store. I had just walked in the house with my arms full of groceries, when I received the following phone call:
"Hi, friend. I'm Steve Greenberg, and I'm running for Congress from the 8th district."
Not 15 minutes later, I received a second call from the same campaign, and I blew my top. Seriously, it's August, people. Isn't it a little bit early to be so aggressive?
So first, I looked up his web site. He's a Republican, running against my current representative, whom I actually happen to like. I sent Greenberg the following email:
Are you trying to antagonize voters? Because if you are, you're succeeding. It is only August 25. I just received TWO phone calls in the last ten minutes. This is outrageous. Stop it.I still felt angry, so I called the campaign office and left a similarly furious message on the answering machine.
Still not feeling satisfied, I sent a second email:
You'll be happy to know that I just sent money to the Obama presidential campaign. Every time my phone receives an automated call from your campaign, I will send money to Melissa Bean (the incumbent and Greenberg's Democratic opponent) or Barack Obama. This isn't spite. I'm voting for them anyway. I just want you to know that the despicable practice of automated campaign calls is going to cost you.P.S. You're also going to be the topic of my blog tomorrow.
I know I went overboard, but surprisingly I don't feel embarrassed about either my outburst or my actions. I'm sick of politicians bludgeoning us and badgering us and lying to us and tarring us with their venom. I won't make the "campaign donation to your opponent" threat every time I get an automated call this year, but I do intend to complain about them at every opportunity.
Let them get a string of phone calls they'd rather not listen to, and maybe they'll figure out how it feels.
Anyone else want to play?