I'm as patriotic as they come, and I wholeheartedly believe in our democratic system of electing government officials, but it never ceases to amaze me how many annoying things our Long Island politicians do to get our votes.
I talked about this with several friends and relatives and found we share many of the same gripes. For example:
-- The oversized campaign postcards mailed to us every day. I've suffered several paper cuts from their razor-sharp edges, and wind up with ink all over my hands. I noticed a trash receptacle at the Wading River Post Office full of these postcards and wondered how many more tons of garbage was headed for Long Island landfills. Maybe politicians should be forced to pay a special tax for every pound of garbage created from campaign literature, or at least be forced to recycle their mailings. Maybe the revenue from recycling could ease some of our municipal budget woes. Now, why didn't they think of that?
-- The small signs planted in the ground at most intersections and grassy medians. I wonder how many flat tires or accidents these 11-by-14-inch distractions cause during the two months before Election Day. Near my home one windy day (not as windy, of course, as Sandy), I saw one of these signs sail across Route 25A and just miss a car. This political Frisbee could have damaged a vehicle, or even a cyclist, jogger or walker. And what about the cleanup? Those that aren't retrieved by political winners -- and especially the losers -- undoubtedly wind up costing taxpayers money to clean up. I doubt the politicians would get fined for littering.
-- Candidate telephone calls around dinnertime. Frankly, my cooking causes me enough indigestion. But last week, while making a pot of sauce with meatballs and sausage, I got a call from a volunteer for a congressional candidate. My hands were full of chopped meat, but I listened politely. Just as the call was nearly done, I threw him off balance by asking if he fried his meatballs, as I do, before putting them in the sauce. He told me he wouldn't have it any other way. Some things are nonpartisan.
-- In my informal survey, the top vote-getter was negative campaign ads. The last thing we need is more negativity in our lives, but these ads find their way into our lives especially on television. You would think all candidates for public office would take the high road rather than attack each other. But many candidates resort to mudslinging because they have no plan of action to present to the voters. Because it's easier to find fault, the negative campaign ads flourish. With these ads, political candidates look more like participants in a WrestleMania mudfest rather than prospective public servants.
Gripe or no gripe, let's remind everyone to vote on Election Day this year.
Reader Lou DeCaro lives in Wading River.