Dear Presidential Candidates,
As an officially unaffiliated voter in Arapahoe County, Colo. with a household income that’s slightly on the wrong side of average for the nation, I think you’ve been talking to me. I hear I’m in your wheelhouse because I’m looking for a president that’ll give Americans a better fiscal foothold and ensure equal rights for every biped with a pulse and self-aware thoughts. Also, according to your staffers, I’m white and 30, which means I have a high likelihood to vote on a regular basis — but I don’t like to see things that way.
I’m bringing a thirst for a better balance sheet and more equal rights for all. In exchange, I’m willing to pay what I owe in taxes and listen to people I don’t agree with. In the past, I’ve voted for Republicans (fiscally irresistible), Democrats (Gore, maybe) and Ralph Nader. The last one was a phase in college, and I lived in Utah anyway.
As an officially unaffiliated voter in Arapahoe County, Colo. with two eyes I’ve also noticed your campaign ads running on every TV channel, website and running-horse Kinescope in a 20-mile radius. I think I even saw an attack ad on the back of my Apple Jacks this morning.
Here’s the rub, fellas: I know you’re talking to me, I’m just not listening anymore.
When you burn the bridge of credibility, it takes a long time to build it back.
Barry (you send me e-mails using my first name, and we’ve been to the same events a few times, so we’re like best friends and stuff):
Remember the first time we started talking? You said lots of things about closing Gitmo, not compromising even if it meant you’d be a one-term guy, and reigning in a financial regulation system that’s on shakier footing than a blind-drunk Wallenda brother. Now your guys are running an ad that all-but says “Romney killed my wife?” What happened?
You want me to listen? Tell me how I’m paying into a retirement system that’ll have something left when I retire — hopefully before “Terminator”-type end days. Tell me how you plan to get weirdos from Arizona to Vermont to work together instead of yelling like Nancy Grace?
Oh yeah, and considering my proximity to the place where 12 people died (about a block or so), I’d like to hear how you plan on preventing people from raining bullets down on each other in horrific ways in the future.
Until then, no more one-on-one conversations on TV. I’m not giving you more of my money until you tell me how you and every other candidate will stop spending unlimited amounts of other people’s money.
(And quit suggesting yourself to me on my Facebook. That’s for looking at pictures of exes and groaning at stupid e-cards, buddy.)
Man, remember when we had the same jacket on at the same time? Remember how embarrassing that was? No? It was in Salt Lake City in 2002. You were handing coats out like cookie samples at the grocery store and I gobbled one up. You wore it because you ran the Olympic games, and I wore it because I was a lousy college kid who played Playstation through most of the month of February.
Anyway, I’m not listening to you talk about health care anymore. I know some chronically sick poor folks that need help 24/7, and I’d cut them a check personally if I could. I don’t expect business to solve health care problems because they’re businesses. I expect humans to solve health care problems because we’re human. The first rule of business is to stay profitable; the first rule of being human is to stay alive.
Also, I’m not listening to you tell me what I should be doing with my money either. Just like I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, you don’t know what it’s like to be middle class. I wasn’t born that way and neither were you.
(And I’m not downloading your app. An app that tells me who your VP pick first is about as useful as an app that tells me when you have a bowel movement first. I really don’t care.)
Want me to listen? Answer me when I ask you about treating everyone fairly under the law— and I mean everyone, and about moving jobs from places like Punjab back to places like Pittsburgh.
You’re telling me that Obama and his folks are free-riding mooches? C’mon man, we wore purple together. I can’t take anything you say seriously after seeing you in a coat like that.
As an officially unaffiliated voter in Arapahoe County, Colo. I’m staying officially unaffiliated until I hear talk worth listening to.
(cc: Ann Romney’s cookies and Michelle Obama’s garden)
Reach managing editor Aaron Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-750-7555