Many people yell and scream about Campaign Finance Reform while ignoring what is becoming even a bigger problem during election season.
Of course, I am talking about Campaign Cardboard reform.
I’m sure my critics will be quick to condemn, claiming that it is all just sour grapes. As candidate for governor for the Flatlander Party, I don’t have the resources of those running in the other two parties (it’s true, it was not me that won Powerball last week) and I will have to live with that.
But Campaign Cardboard Reform has nothing to do with trying to create an equal playing field as far as finances go, it is all about public safety.
Someone is going to get hurt.
I have discussed before the increasing size of those cardboard political mailers that show up in our mailboxes as primary and election day get closer. First appearing in regular postcard size, they were no more annoying than many other similar sized junk mail postcards from local realtors. They all fit easily into the trash.
Then something happened.
The political mailers began to increase in size as though they had been exposed to some kind of scientific ray like in those bad B movies from the fifties.
Each week it seemed like they were getting bigger and bigger, harder to handle and get in and of the mailbox.
Then, one day, it stopped. The things were huge, but it seemed that they had reached their breaking point and would go no further.
After a while we learned to live with these giant cardboard mailers; they began to become a normal part of everyday lives every two years from June through November.
I even found some useful ways to use these mailers which I have explained here in detail in the past, (You can hear me tell the story on my website www.BrendanTSmith.com)
Yesterday, all of that changed.
I arrived home from a day at work, collected the mail from the mailbox (no political mailers, by the way) walked into my kitchen and was confronted by the new beast.
My first instinct was to run, call 911 and wait for the authorities to take care of it.
After taking a deep breath, I walked a bit closer, now realizing it couldn’t harm me if I didn’t touch it first.
It lay across the island in our kitchen, not moving, not breathing. It was (as I measured it later) a 22” by 17” giant cardboard political poster with the name of a candidate I will not mention (he/she knows who he/she is).
I wouldn’t call it a mailer as I’m sure the post office would have nothing to do with this “thing.” (I have yet to give it a name.)
As I stared at the behemoth it suddenly crossed my mind.
“Where was my wife?”
Did someone actually bring this to our door? Had she accepted it willingly? Had she then tried to carry it into the kitchen by herself? Had she been hurt in the process and was now in the emergency room while I was here selfishly contemplating the complexity of this new intrusion into our homes during election season?
It was then I heard her car pull into the driveway. My heart soared. She was safe.
She explained to me that, no, she hadn’t pulled her car off to the side of the road, shimmied up the side of a roadside billboard and ripped this poster down and brought it home. It was, in fact, delivered by hand by someone who thought enough about this candidate to go door to door asking people if he could leave with them a piece of cardboard big enough to set up as a wind barrier against an approaching hurricane.
“Did he come with a pack mule?” I asked imaging the poor animal, back loaded with these things, being led by tether down the streets of our neighborhood.
My wife is an artist and she explained to me that she had accepted it willingly, thinking that it might come in useful for an art project someday. (She didn’t even know the candidate.)
My wife somehow got this into the kitchen without injury. One of the lucky ones. Still, how many will not be so lucky? How many will be hurt in trying to get these things into their own kitchens? How many will be hurt when these things fall from the kitchen island onto their big toe?
Something needs to be done before people start getting hurt. This isn’t about sour grapes, it’s about human decency.
This thing is still in our kitchen. My wife wants to carry it to her studio by herself, but I thought it best we wait for help from some friends. Maybe tomorrow.
Tonight we will have to eat out.
To find out more about Brendan’s book and upcoming appearances go to www.BrendanTSmith.com