Political Candidates on The Street Corner… Or… Who *is* That, Actually?

I generally avoid the highway route on my morning commute. The snarling monotony stop-go-stop-go wears on my nerves almost as it does on my car’s brakes. Going in the back way takes the same amount of time, and it’s much more relaxing.

It also doubles my exposure to the political candidates out there at this time of year, waving their hands and ducking down a bit as each of us passes by in a vain attempt to make eye contact with each and every one of us. Not only do I get those candidates in my own neighborhood, but there is a largely residential swath that I pass through near my place of employment just outside the capital beltway that is ripe for delegates, sheriffs, and councilmen to expose themselves to the public at large during our commute.

Most of you know this routine: usually accompanied by a small gang of supporters, the candidate will be out on the corner or standing on the median, flashing smiles with an over-sized sign with his or her name on it, not to mention what office the candidate is running for.

What’s particularly annoying to me is what seems to be an increasing use of stand-ins for this work. I understand that a candidate can’t be on every street corner waving at me, but what message are they trying to send, putting someone else there to do it?

“I can’t be here for you, but look, here’s somebody I paid to make it seem like I might!”

or

“This guy must really like me, see how vigorously he’s waving? Maybe you will, too!”

because I can’t really imagine they’re aiming for what comes to my mind, which is:

“I couldn’t be bothered enough to get up this morning to be here. Here’s a twit who I probably conned into doing it for me for free, instead.”

“If you’re stupid enough to vote for me based on this moron standing here waving at you with a sign in his hand, I’ll take it!”

I don’t want to take anything away from the candidate who goes out with his or her family, or even a team of supporters, and each of them takes a corner at a busy intersection to wave as  we tarry on our way by. Seeing a guy with his wife and kids supporting him as he tries to get involved in the political system is a good picture of what our country is supposed to be all about, and I applaud all of them.

It’s just when they’re obviously not even there that it seems like it’s blatantly counting on my stupidity and ignorance to get them a vote. That puts me in a position where I’m not sure if I want to spit out the window in disgust or just laugh at them, noting the name just to be sure that I never mistakenly vote for them.

There’s an ultimate version of this, the super deluxe cheese and bacon on the fries rendition, where the signs include a picture of the candidate – which looks nothing like any of the people there waving at us. Sometimes not even the same race!

Is this really winning votes? This country might be in more trouble than I thought.

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