Negative Campaigns: Deciding Who to Vote Against
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
Ah, political season, and the time to decide whom to vote Â against. Â Thatâ€™s Â right. Â Against. Â Very Â few Â politicians seem noble enough Â to Â encourage me to cast a vote for them. The only political poll that counts Â (for me) is the one I take next to my home phone.
A really Â nasty Â habit Â has Â developed Â among Â political candidates and their campaigners over the past few years. Two years ago, I stopped Â answering the phone because every other call wanted to identify some awful something theÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â other candidate Â had Â done, pretend to Â be Â an â€œindependent surveyâ€ and then give me a dozen did-you-knows about the other candidate, orâ€”what I most hateâ€”an automated, pre-recorded call asking for my sup- port, usually while Iâ€™m in the bath, in the middle of cooking Â dinner, Â or Â furiously Â writing Â a Â chapter Â of Â my Â next book.
This year, Iâ€™m doing what I said Iâ€™d do 2 years ago: Iâ€™m keeping a record of which candidates annoy me most by intruding on my private Â time Â and Iâ€™m voting against them. All other things being equal (and they pretty much have been in regard to my own assessments), Â my home intrusion poll will decide who doesnâ€™t get my vote this year.
For example, Â local Okaloosa Â School Â Superintendent candidate Â Alexis Â Tibbetts Â wonâ€™t get my vote solely Â because her supporters showed up on my front doorstep in a Â no-soliciting Â neighborhood Â where Â non-residentsÂ Â are specifically not allowed to be without permission. Â They frightened my young teen, who wouldnâ€™tÂ let them in. I doubt Â Alexis Â herself Â was on my doorstep Â but her sup- porters were acting as her agents and her website specifically asks Â for her supporterâ€™s Â help, Â including Â neighbor- hood and telephone activities.
So far right now, it looks like Iâ€™m voting for Charlie Crist for Governor Â of Florida. That was determined last night when my Caller ID specified a â€œprivate callerâ€ and I panicked, thinking of only a Â few Â people it could be and had to wonder who was dying now. Iâ€™m on all the do-not- call lists, which of course doesnâ€™t apply to politicians, go figure.
This call pissed me off worse than any others Iâ€™ve received because of the attempts at deception. Â First, they wouldnâ€™t identify who they were or their telephone number. Theyâ€™d rendered my Caller ID service useless. Otherwise, I never would have answered, but I guess that was the point.
Second, they Â claimed Â to Â be Â an Â independent Â survey company Â conducting an important survey (what? 4 days before the election?) not Â affiliated with either candidate. But still wouldnâ€™t Â identify themselves, Â though the caller told me she could give me the telephone number of the president, if I liked. Huh? Not the number sheâ€™s calling from? Huh?
Third, the independent survey (define â€œindependentâ€)turned out to be a list of Did-you-knows about bad stuff Crist has supposedly done. I donâ€™t know if he did, I donâ€™t remember what they were, and I couldnâ€™t bring myself to care because my aggravation Â at the tactics employed by his adversary was so strong that it overrode any political opinions.
So Â the Â negative Â attack Â on Â Crist Â actually Â backfired where Iâ€™m concerned. I associate it not with him but with his adversaries. The efforts to deceive me into answering the phone by blocking the source of the call, to deceive me into taking the call by inventing its purpose, and then to deceive me into listening to their agendaâ€¦all that deception and Â evasiveness Â is what gives Â politicians Â a bad name!
Ah, but we still have tonight and all day tomorrow for more Â candidates and their supporters to interrupt me at home and give me a chance to vote against them!