The prompt “Bludgeon” immediately brought to mind my feeling when I returned home from China on the 20th of last month: it is the election season and, to make matters worse, Christmas is just around the corner. Going through the pile of mail awaiting me were two Voter’s Pamphlets (County and State) plus innumerable vote-this-way-or-that mailers, and several holiday catalogs. Both of these represent bludgeons to me…and I hate that feeling.
This year there are 39 items on our ballot!!!! If, for the sake of argument, you assume that the average per issue is five mailings and 5 phone calls that equals 195 items of junk mail and times of getting up to answer the phone to be disappointed that it isn’t an emergency (the reason I always answer the phone is in case it is Grandma or Dad). The “do not call” registry doesn’t apply to political contests.
In addition to the Christmas catalogs (more arrive daily) I have already received two “black Friday” ads.
Rant #1: the election…but its not what you think
7 initiatives, 2 advisory votes, and a proposition!!! I appreciate the idea of democracy, however, the basic idea of “representative democracy” is that you elect competent people, who are paid to research and make intelligent decisions that “provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare”.
I am a good reader, and have higher than average computational and reasoning skills and it often takes me an hour or so to go through and reason out the pros and cons on these issues, even at that I often feel like I can’t make an adequately informed decision. How many people do you think do even this much? I am guessing that the average person just reads the top level description and votes a gut reaction. That means that people who do not actually understand the issues are calling the shots.
If the duly elected and paid for professional services representatives can’t do the job then we really need to do some soul searching: on what grounds are they elected? Right now it feels like we are selecting people based on their favorite color (red or blue) not their intelligence or skills.
Rant #2: “the holidays” are far from holy
The reason for the “black” in “black Friday” is that it is the day of the year when businesses, especially smaller ones, move from being “in the red” to “in the black” for the year’s accounts. Everyone is desperate to make ends meet. The desperation comes out in marketing that screams at you and jerks you around emotionally, in bright and flashing lights, louder than usual music (sometimes shockingly bad), and cinnamon and pine scented everything, for me this is a sensory overload.
This time of year I often feel bludgeoned when I go out to buy basics: the general bustle of busier than usual stores with bright and/or flashing lights, singing snowmen and loud music has more than once caused me to turn tail and run home…who needs bread and eggs?
I understand the desperation of stores trying to make money: although I have a bit more trouble with TarWalOsco acting desperate than with local independently owned stores.
Here is what I believe: Christmas won’t be a life changing event because you give or get just the right electronic gadget…and if you use Thanksgiving just to get energy for the mad dash to get that electronic gadget (probably made by someone who is living in pretty miserable conditions) you will lose out on the things that matter.
That said: Merry Consumer-fest!