Memo to pols: If you blanket my neighborhood with yard-signs, I'm not voting for you

November 1, 2010


It’s a day before the election. It’s pump up time. This is when politicians turn into emcees and supporters build up stamina for their various rally reactions:

"How are we doing today Rock Island?" (Cheer, scream)

"I can’t hear you!!!!” (Cheer, scream)

"Are we going to win tomorrow or what?" (Cheer, scream)

"Wait, what? Channel 5 had a camera problem. Can we start over? Sure."

"How are we doing Rock Island??"

I love the day before an election. This is when I collect all my fliers, yard signs, web sites and robo-calls and make an overnight trip to the desert, put on my 'Best of Cream' on my iPod, take some peyote and come to a decision. I will just repeat for hours: Who will be the state’s new comptroller? Who will be the state’s new comptroller...

Either that, or just vote for whoever hands me literature last.

Today is also the last day we can talk freely about who we think will win. Tomorrow, media gets really touchy (or at least we do) about reporting on candidates because we don’t want to poison the well for potential undecided voters. So here are my endorsements:

Governor: Pass.

Senate: Pass.

Congress: Pass.

Comptroller: Judy Baar Topinka.

Cook Cty President: Pass.

Who knows who will win? If there’s one thing I know more than anything in the whole wide world, it’s this:  don’t trust the media. The media is like Hollywood. Somewhere, one media outlet talked about the “anger” of the country and then everyone picked up the story because they want the ratings. It’s like vampire shows. One works, order 15 more.

This election cycle feels like the media is paying back the right for the left love fest in 2008. In 2008, we went crazy pver Obama and the Dems. Now, almost like payback we’ve told one-sided stories the other way, talking about tea-partiers and the rage/anger of the country. Everyone has gone on record (including us) that this is a republican year and they are going to win the house and major offices state-wide. See, the media is equal-opportunity…in broad, yearly strokes.

And it’s not just the media.   Election cycles have become more and more intrusive. If you're going to spend three years campaigning for president, I’ll accept intrusive campaigning if we see some change - like ending wars and writing historic social legislation. I’m down with that. At least it shakes it up a bit.

But when two-year congressmen and state-wide constitutional officers start campaigning months and months out from the election and paper the whole city in their crappy on-line printed red & white yard signs, that's when I have a problem.

Memo to wannabe elected politicians: Don’t try to get my attention by LITTERING the medians of this fine city. I will not vote for Scott Lee Cohen and Dan Rutherford because of their over-zealous volunteers who put 50 signs back-to-back-to-back-to-back on Ashland Ave. Same with the open green space in parks or off of Lake Shore Drive. You don’t understand the city or the people who live here when you take away our only green spaces to try and deliver YOUR NAME to our sub-consciousness. You know who else does that? Fast food, telemarketers (want a job quick?) and shady mortgage companies. Congrats, you are in respectable company.

Elections in this town should mean something, but they shouldn’t be on my answering machine, on my windshield or in my parks. We have a serious budget problem in our state. Regardless of who wins, there will be cuts. And those decisions will have to be made by a manager who not only shows discipline to cut, but but pressure on the wound to help us heal quickly. He will have to carry a knife, but also Neosporin. But if this state sees too much blood, we’ll freak out and probably pass out. You put a tax on parking lots AND cut social services? I’m woozy.

This is why turnout is expected to be low. Not because candidates don’t inspire, but Illinois voters are acting like you do when you know you have to pay a delinquent bill - by hiding it under a pile of unopened mail. Nobody wants to see it, nobody wants to think about it. We all know it’s coming, but it’s not our problem to fix, it’s a paid politician’s job. And we don’t want to be responsible for our choice messing it up.

So on this final day before we go to the polls, let’s try to put out of our minds the apocalypse that awaits us in 2011. Let’s go to the polls and pay that bill! If it all works out, those cuts probably won’t leave a scar. Probably.