The other day as I was driving to work, something caught my eye out of my peripheral vision. There was some sort of activity going on next to the curb. It distracted me to the point that my attention was diverted for a fraction of a second, leaving the car in front of me vulnerable to being rear-ended. When I realized what the commotion was, I felt irritated. It was someone holding a political candidate’s sign and waving at cars as they went by on a busy thoroughfare.
For the life of me I do not understand this practice. Are voters really such idiots that politicians can gain their favor simply by standing by the side of the road waving at them and flashing their pearly white teeth like a grinning Cheshire cat? What if, in the course of diverting the driver’s attention from the road, the sign wavers cause an accident? How likely are they going to get that person’s vote? And let me clue you sign wavers in on a little secret—even if I’m in a chipper mood and wave back at you, that doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for you. Maybe I just feel sorry for you standing in the hot sun trying to draw attention to yourself or your candidate and I decided to brighten up your day.
I suppose I should be grateful, in that this election season has taken a back seat to the Covid-19 pandemic, and politics and politicians aren’t constantly in my face. I can only stomach so many political ads during my favorite TV shows. As for the news, forget it. If I want to be stressed I can always talk to my teenager. But Covid-19 hasn’t stopped the local politicians from littering the streets with their signs and filling my mailbox with beautiful fliers showing their beaming faces and telling me how wonderful they are. Nor has it stopped the robocalls. All of these things can be accomplished while maintaining social distancing, which I suppose carries a certain degree of altruism.
Call me crazy, but I am one of those rare breed of voters who actually researches what the candidates stand for and their track records, and tries to make an intelligent choice. And once I have made my decision, I am unlikely to change it without a darned good reason. No amount of waving and smiling at me from the side of the road is likely to convince me otherwise. It’s not like I’m going to think, “Wow, I was going to vote for John Doe, but Joe Smith has a lot more friendly people waving at me, so maybe I’ll go with him instead.” And it’s for darned sure if a candidate persistently annoys me with robocalls they run the risk of losing my vote, regardless of whether or not I originally liked them.
So, if it makes you political candidates feel better, keep waving at me. Just remember, at my age, driving distractions should be minimized. Otherwise, I might accidentally veer off the road onto the sidewalk.