That sounded cynical; the mailings don't really bother me. I don't mind giving small donations, and hey, labels are cool even if they probably sent me more than I'll use in five years. The literature I don't want I put in the recycling bin. No sweat.
I usually eye the mailings with relative indifference, maybe setting them to the side to look at later. One made me light up with glee, though (no, it wasn't the jury duty summons...). You see, the Democratic Party wanted my input for their presidential campaign (and a donation of at about $35, but that's irrelevant, I'm sure). I mean, the big thing is, they care what I, a common peon, feel. They truly are, well, democratic, ensuring that I have a say in the direction of our nation. Would the Republican Party court me, a lowly worker (and
(Was that too much? Sorry. I couldn't see through my partisanship.)
Eh. First of all, I don't much respect letters--like the one enclosed--that employ arbitrary text formatting . . . and overuse of ellipses . . . and Gratuitous Capitalization. Granted, I do use those too, sometimes, but I'm a blogger, not someone trying to prove my fitness for the leadership of the country. Picky point, but first impressions are important.
First question: "Thinking strategically about Democrats' role in the 2008 campaigns, which of the following strategies do you think is the key to electing Democrats in 2008? Please choose one answer only." Dangling modifier aside, the question is representative of the thinking I despise in most liberals. None of the options have anything whatsoever to do with policy; instead, they have to do with voter recruitment and advertising. Getting into office is more important than actually offering an alternative.
The questions only get worse. They're very loaded, too. One asks, "How important is eliminating the Republican culture of corruption in Congress to restoring the public's faith in our government?" That's right, kiddies, Republicans hold the monopoly on corruption. Give the Democrats a chance to get in on the action already, will ya? Oh... wait...
Another question asks, "How important is raising the minimum wage to the economic security of working families?" It's pretty obvious what the "right" answer is. I am a proponent of raising the minimum wage, which hasn't kept up with inflation and cost of living, but I dislike the slant. I'm a relatively intelligent person; I do not need to be led to the right answer.
Or try this one: "How seriously will the Republican failure to fund No Child Left Behind Act impact our children's future?" That's right; any negative consequences of NCLB are due to poor (Republican) funding, not, y'know, any flaws in the legislature itself, which passed with bipartisan approval.
Then, there are a few questions about which party I "trust most to combat terrorism and protect America against future attacks" or "trust most to guarantee your retirement security." The options? Democrats or Republicans. I wrote "neither" by those.
So, after more loaded questions with insufficient options, they provide two lines for "additional comments." Two. Lines. But... but, Chris Van Hollen, I thought you said you valued my input in the Democrats' direction. Either you assume you covered all the ground you needed to with the questions, or you're only looking to find affirmation. Hmm. After some thought, I finally wrote, "Questions are very leading. Criticism of the Republican Party is valid, but try providing real alternatives, not just lip service." It lacks the vitriol I wanted to put, but I've got a blog for that ;).
What good will come of it? Nothing, I'm sure. As long as we're entrenched in the two-party system and campaigns are based on sound bites and image and don't forget corporate financing, elections will be an exercise in deciding between Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dumb.