…only you get dumped after Election Day
By Mike Matteo
So far today I have seen six political ads on television, have been called by two opinion research poll companies and had four recorded announcements by candidates who are running in the primaries. And it’s not even noon on a Monday! As I sat back and began feeling overwhelmed by the all this undeserved attention it made me realize that running for office is a lot like dating someone who possesses ulterior motives. But even women who have sought relationships with me haven’t given me as much attention as the candidates who are obviously obsessed with my vote. Normally I should be flattered by all the attention but, to be honest, I find the whole process like being stalked. No matter where I turn they’re there, the “CANDIDATES.” It’s like being a victim in a horror movie the only difference is that instead of being lunged at with a knife, I’m being assaulted with advertisements, calls and campaign literature which keeps the guys who collect my recycling extremely busy.
Being a voter is a lot like having two girlfriends who are trying to convince me that I should date one of them exclusively because the other one could never make me happy but they never mention what they’ll do to make me happy. In all the years that Bill McCollum, Jim Norman, Kevin Ambler etc. have held offices they have never picked up the phone to say, “Hey, Mike, how’s it going? What can I do to make you happy?” But during election time they leave me little messages on my answering machine, send me flyers and have their workers call me every day and tell me how much they need my support. I hate to think that politicians might have ulterior motives or are disingenuous, however, this pattern seems to emerge every year at this time so it has aroused my suspicions. Is it possible that they like me only for one thing: my vote? Will I fade into oblivion after Election Day only to be used again next year at this time? What kind of relationships are we building here?
Personally, whether it is dealing with a woman or a candidate I like to find out things on my own instead of having them tell me what they think I want to hear. The only thing that phone calls and political ads tell me (especially since they are mostly about their opponent’s negative qualities) is that they would rather have me focus more on what the other guy does wrong versus what they do right.
Finally, is there anything more annoying that having to get up to answer the telephone during dinner to hear a recorded announcement? When I have someone who I know personally and they call me at inopportune times, I let them know and if they continue the behavior I end the relationship. Sadly, I can’t do this with my political admirers because they are beyond persistent. Thus, my strategy for dealing with candidates is that I’m keeping a pen and paper near the phone and every time I get a call from a candidate I put a check mark next to that candidate’s name. I total up the check marks on the eve of an election. The candidate who has annoyed me the most (the highest number of check marks) will not get my vote. Hopefully if all the candidates who feel that the best way to get votes is to harass voters by calling them at home (sorry but I don’t recall every giving them my phone number) are voted against, perhaps, in the future I can enjoy my dinner without being bothered.
Mike Matteo is a resident of Tampa, Florida where he was a public and private high school teacher who taught classes in economics, history, psychology and philosophy. Mike has written twenty full-length feature screenplays, has taught screenwriting at the University of South Florida. He has written or co-authored three books, 2 produced movies, stage plays and currently writes for a teen travel show. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.