Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Political Candidates Are Like Diet Pills

Raise your hand if you can’t wait till Wednesday, and the cessation of political advertisements. The only thing that’s kept me going through Stumptober is the small, private giggle I get every now and then, when I remember we had our home phone shut off a few months ago. My husband is a registered Republican, and I’m a registered Democrat, which means double-trouble from the tele-activists. Now, all those perky little volunteers who want to tell me who to vote for and why are getting a robotic message telling them they won’t be speaking to the Sylvans anytime soon. Muah ha ha.

Obviously, I’m not a fan of the political advertisements, either, whether it’s the radio ads or the mailbox flyers or the mudslinging tv spots. And it occurred to me, as I listened to the fiftieth one to air on the radio today, that their ads are very similar to those pushing diet pills.

First of all, no matter how much factual or scientific evidence they may seem to have backing up their claims, the results will never match the promises. If I take that diet pill, I will not lose twenty pounds in two weeks. Neither will I see a decrease in my taxes and government spending, less crime in my neighborhood, and an increase in my property value in the next 4 years if I elect Mr. Patriotic Tie to Congress. Not that I would mind either happening, but…hey, I write fiction. I recognize it when it’s coming at me.

Which brings me to the second part of my diet pill/political candidate metaphor. If you’ve ever watched those diet pill commercials closely, you’ll notice a little smudge of fine print at the bottom of the screen, which usually reads “*when combined with diet and exercise.” In other words, one can’t take the magic pill, sit down on the couch with a bag of Doritos, and expect speedy and massive weight loss. Salad-eating and cardio are still required. Same goes for voting. One can’t just vote and then expect miracles to occur. You need to let your candidate know which of his platform issues is the most important to you, through email or phone calls. is a great site which does most of the work for you; they even have handy form letters for a lot of issues, and they’ll email you with calls to action when an issue that’s important to you is coming up for a vote. Hey, the candidates nag you for two months straight; fling it back at them for the next four years.

Happy Voting Day!

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