'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MUD SLINGING SEASON IS HERE
Election season is here once again! Aren’t you excited? Yes indeed, this would be terrific time to reactivate the ol’ Y2K underground emergency shelter and spend the next several weeks completely cut off from civilization. You may have to eat baked beans and Spam everyday, but at least if you’re underground you won’t be able to see any campaign advertisements on TV.
Taking a cue from the retail industry—which years ago decided the Fourth of July was a great time to begin the Christmas shopping season (mostly because that’s when people finally pay off their credit card bills from last Christmas)—politicians recently decided to begin broadcasting campaign ads many months before Election Day. For example, several congressional incumbents in this state introduced new re-election commercials in the middle of their acceptance speeches on Election Night two years ago, and they’ve been running those ads ever since.
Regardless of a candidate’s race, gender, party affiliation, or prison record, all political ads fall into two basic categories. In the first type of ad, the politician accuses his or her opponent of being a lowdown, dishonest scuz-bucket—primarily because the opponent had the audacity to run mud-slinging “negative” ads.
In the second type of ad, the candidate tries to woo the all-important senior citizen vote—primarily by scaring the living bejeezus out of every grandma and grandpa in America. A typical commercial of this type starts with an announcer saying, “While his opponent voted for legislation forcing senior citizens to pay for prescription drugs by working as migrant farmers picking lettuce in the hot sun for fourteen hours each day, Congressman Farquard McGillicuddy stood up to the special interests and said, ‘No!’ Instead, Congressman McGillicuddy voted to increase monthly Social Security payments to match the salaries of corporate CEOs, and to provide free prescription drugs for all seniors—whether they need them or not.”
Then the congressman himself appears on camera and speaks. “Hi, I’m Farquard McGillicuddy. If you send me back to Congress, I promise to fight for the rights of senior citizens. I’ll streamline the Medicare program by giving you your own personal physician who can sleep in your spare bedroom and massage your bunions when he’s not taking your temperature. I’ll pass legislation requiring a 16-year-old boy to mow your lawn every week for a year before he can get his driver’s license. I’ll make sure college students paint your house and clean your garage before they’re allowed to receive their diplomas. And I’ll force all those greedy workers age 35 and under to send you half their take-home pay each week. Why will I do all this for you? Because you vote, and they don’t. So remember on November 5th: vote for me, Farquard McGillicuddy, the best friend a senior citizen ever had.”
Finally, the announcer returns and speed-reads the closing line: “Paid for by Friends of Farquard, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the A.A.R.P.”
Politicians are not stupid. They tailor their commercials to appeal to the people who bother voting on Election Day. Senior citizens have an average voter turnout rate of 102-percent. (Technically it shouldn’t be more than 100-percent, but some seniors vote in the morning, and then while driving to the 3 p.m. Early Bird Special at Denny’s, can’t remember whether they voted or not, and swing by the polling place to cast another ballot.)
On the other hand, people in their 20s have an average voter turnout rate of two-percent. (It would be zero-percent, but some 20-year-olds not only mistake polling places for tattoo parlors, once inside they also mistake the voting machines for video games and accidentally cast votes.)
If young adults started voting as often as seniors, we might see ads with the congressman saying, “I’ll pass legislation to fund free prescription nose-piercings, and require the Dave Matthews Band to play at your house on Saturday night. Vote for me, Farky Mac, the best friend a dude ever had.”
I might even come out of my underground bunker to watch that one.
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