Wait for it. Do you hear it? It's a rumbling sound, and then a big “Thwump.” That's the sound of political mailers being dumped in your mailbox, which lets you know something weird is happening. No, it's not Halloween, but your confusion is understandable since Election Day is just four days later. And, after all, both events are marked by attempts to scare you.
I wonder if these excessive mailers are still effective, since voters can get information on candidates and issues from so many other sources. But every election cycle they just keep coming. And clearly the pattern is to use what are considered hot-button words and always, always, put them in BIG BOLD TYPE with a SCARY font. Why read all the little words, when you only have to read the BIG ones? And, always use the requisite unattractive black and white photo that looks like the candidate just got out of bed with a hangover, or just stepped in something disgusting.
To help you out, here is a quick primer on which all-capitalized words to look for, so you know not to take the scary bait. Take a deep breath and say really fast:
CRONY, FLIP-FLOPPER, STICK IT TO THE MIDDLE CLASS, DOCTORS, LAWYERS, BIG OIL, BIG BUSINESS, BIG SPENDER, BIG ANYTHING, NOT ON OUR SIDE, JUST ANOTHER POLITICIAN, SOFT ON CRIME, SOFT ON TAXES, JUST PLAIN SOFT.
Hope this helps as you decipher the upcoming mailers. Yes I'm cynical, but don't get me wrong - I love elections, I try to educate myself, and I love to vote. I love walking into the Kenwood Firehouse on Election Day and being treated like Norm on the old TV show Cheers. I hear a chorus of “Alec” from the poll workers, most of whom have manned the tables for many an election. I don't get a beer, but I do get a cookie, a sticker, a cool big marker to use, and a place to spend some quiet time. Kind of like going back to Kindergarten.
Election notes: Mail-in ballots are already being sent out by the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for those who have requested them, with the first day of voting by mail beginning Oct. 6. Voter registration closes Oct. 20. The last day to request a ballot by mail is Oct. 28. And, of course, Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. For more information, call the Registrar of Voters at 565-6800. For more information on candidates and issues, I recommend a couple of League of Women Voters websites: www.smartvoter.org or www.lwvc.org.
Happy voting! - Alec
Editor & Publisher