As I walk around Tucson, I have noticed the increase in what I call “political litter”. I come from a generation where Woodsy The Owl said “Give a hoot, don’t pollute” and kids were told that you don’t throw your trash all over the place. But on every corner of every major intersection here are campaign signs for candidates of both parties and every office under the sun. “Vote For McDoofus! Jobs America Can Believe In!” “Elect Dingelhatch McPheerson! Never Indicted…Yet!” Who could not be stirred by such things as, “Keep America Strong! Vote For Shinglecrafter!”? I, for one, would like to ask this question: Who is going to clean up this mess y’all are making?
See, when the wind blows, these signs end up on a pilgrimage to other places besides every corner of every street in this burg. Not to mention migrating from the various public and government buildings, shopping centers, median strips, and fast food outlets these unwholesome messages have been planted. Like Death Cap and Destroying Angel mushrooms springing up after a heavy rain, political campaign signs dot the landscape with the equally treacherous design. These signs are made of non-biodegradable plastic, so when Patty Hockenberger-Sheeney says she is the “environmentalist” candidate (according to her sign), she obviously cannot be believed. Years from now, Patty’s sign advising us to take care of the earth by voting for her will not have decomposed into mulch to fortify the cactus it has lodged up against and remained forgotten, along with her minuscule political accomplishments. In fact, I suppose archaeologists some 5,000 years into the future will discover these signs and assume we were in thrall to some odd, sinister religious cult that plastered messages from its own incoherent scriptures around the city to brainwash children.
All of these candidates say they are out to help everyone willing to waste the time it takes to vote for this cast of buffoons, charlatans, and bunco steerers. I suppose traveling carnivals can only employ so many of these people for the midway. Be that as it may, I would imagine that if these people donated to the poor the money they normally spent on these signs, the concept of poverty would be utterly abolished. Of course, they cannot do that because these politicians are like Western medical doctors. Modern Western medical doctors need people to remain sick so they’ll keep on coming back as return customers for quack medicines (FDA approved, of course), sham treatments, radiation poisoning, and live camera feeds into their rectums. Indeed, it makes for crappy television, so to speak, but it keeps the doctors employed. So, too, do problems remaining unsolved keep politicians elected.
Therefore, we see political signs all over the landscape as an eyesore no less repugnant than an open-air garbage dump. The only difference is the flies. But the actual content of both remains the same. Again, these signs become dislodged and then it is no one’s “job” to corral these mavericks from the public thoroughfares. The government says, “It’s the job of the candidates to clean those up…” Excuse me, but they ARE the government! Hel-LO! Every one of those jokers running for re-election IS the government, people! However, these signs remain in the twilight zone of responsibility so far as who is supposed to clean them up. A few signs will, eventually, become useful in building makeshift shelters and lean-tos for the city’s homeless. For one time only, the candidates will deliver on a campaign promise to find shelter for the homeless.
I saw one sign, a billboard actually, telling me this judge or DA or whatever has a “97% conviction rate”. Ok, that’s nice. But what I’d like to know is: Were they all guilty? And, if so, of what? If these are “drug offenders”, then you’re telling me that you’re pretty much in the pocket of the private gulag corporations. Moving right along, we are told that certain people will do right by the schools. In other words, they are skilled at dumping billions of dollars into a school system that churns out kids still unable to spell, read beyond a cereal box level, or speak without using the word “like” ten times in one sentence some twelve years later. But those kids will know when Earth Day is, so it’s all good. Other candidates appear to be running for the commandant of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as much as that disgraceful depot of wasted tax dollars enters the political discussion. That’s nice that you can kiss blue-uniformed bootie, but how does that serve the civilians you’re supposed to represent? Oh, jobs, right. What of the people not employed there? And I understand the city budget is off into the wild blue yonder.
Some politicians in these parts like to say this: “I kept the A-10s at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base!” Oh? I thought it was the air force that did that on orders from the Pentagon. As if A-10s being based here are any cause for public celebration. “Well, shucks, hamburger meat has climbed up to five bucks a pound, so we can’t afford it anymore. Sales taxes might go up to pay for more crap the city wants. But, hey, we’ve got ground attack aircraft based here! That’s something to be proud of!” How so? Is the air force going to let you borrow one to move your stuff into a cheaper apartment? What, you’ll just drop by the base and see if you can use an A-10 to head out to Daytona Beach for the weekend? Right, the A-10s are a great political achievement. My gosh, in the old days, the government had to buy Alaska from the Russians to demonstrate some kind of accomplishment and no one even believed that to be one until much later. Now a local government acts as if the federal government basing weapons of war in town is some kind of public benefit. What, are we Israel or Saudi Arabia? It’s like a weird kind of military aid package mutated with a federal jobs program.
A lot of money goes into constructing these pathetic examples of what we call “democracy”. If this is “democracy”, I’d like to see what’s on the a la carte menu, please. Pardon me, but please hold the democracy on my order. It gives me heartburn. They also call these signs “freedom of speech”. Well, I suppose so. But I think the most interesting freedom of speech tells me who’s got Philly cheesesteak sandwiches on sale. And that guy twirls his sign, too. By the way, sign twirling was one of those great new jobs created by President Obama’s economic stimulus and recovery. I think these candidates ought to be forced to stand on the street corner and twirl their signs like everyone else does. And dance, too, like the more popular sign twirlers, do in front of the pizza joints.
I cannot see what is so “Green” about plastic signs blowing across this city from candidates telling us they’re so Green, their fossil fuel consumption runs in a negative every time they break the wind. Beg pardon, but are those signs solar panels? No? Then how about a nice, tall glass of shut the heck up? Hold the sugar, extra soy milk, right? And you “strong military” types out there, will these signs work as extra armor on Humvees, by chance? Maybe Americans can use these political signs for cover when the next ISIS, oops, Syrian moderate you backed opens fire. Right, John? How come you didn’t put those pictures of you posing with those guys on your sign?
What shall we call this, then? Well, we can call it “political litter” but that is repeating the same word twice. Back in the day, people would have just called it “trash” and they would have been correct. Today, these candidates are engaged in this massive personality cult that would have shamed Stalin. My gosh, the old Soviet Union did not have as many placards, posters, and signs of Stalin, Lenin, and Marx across the entire USSR than one American city has posters and placards of just one candidate for the school board on display! The Soviets couldn’t have afforded it! They’d have gone broke in 1940 trying to match it. We will never lose the “Garbage Race” with any nation now or ever to come after this one buries itself in a rubbish heap that will dwarf Mount Everest.
There. Call me unpatriotic. But elections do not make me hum the Star Splattered Banner and cheer the dangerously high decibel levels of F-16s cavorting over the city here like this is Berlin in 1944. Everyone acts like the fate of Western Civilization hangs upon these elections. If that is the case, then Western Civilization is long past its “Best By” date and needs to be shuffled off to the trash can before it starts to stink even worse. And who made Western Civilization the defining moment of humanity anyway? Where did that election take place? Have archaeologists yet discovered the campaign signs from that one?
“Jack, you’re so cynical! Just because you don’t vote doesn’t mean everyone else thinks that way!” I know that. I see that daily dodging wind-blown political signs. These things could probably decapitate a horse, some are so large. I think during high winds, the aforementioned Davis-Monthan AFB tracks these signs on radar and has to ground aircraft so political signs aren’t sucked up into an engine. Obviously, there must be quite a business in these signs. And people think the government doesn’t create jobs! Of course, they do. Just not ones where people aren’t licking the hands of the State for the crumbs.