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Stateside: Steering Clear Of Political Rallies

Stateside with Rosalea

Why I'll Be Steering Clear Of Political Rallies This Year

Howard Dean has written to me! To me!! Next thing, I'll be getting letters saying I'm pre-approved for a credit card. Actually, I put a stop to those by writing to an address that then informs the credit checking agencies that you don't want your details given out to financial services companies. I don't know if there is an equivalent address to write to, to stop mail from political operatives.

All this junk mail from Democratic Party-related sources started back in 2000, after I'd made a pledge to donate money to Ralph Nader's campaign in the heat of the moment at one of the rallies he spoke at. Boxes were passed along the rows and you were asked to stick in a cheque or fill out a pledge card with your credit card details. Since the money was never charged to my credit card, and the Democratic Party mailings that started shortly thereafter are all addressed to the misspelled name that appears on it, one can only assume....

The interesting thing now, is that Howard Dean has access to that mailing list at all. I suppose it must be because he's changed campaign managers and gotten someone from the mainstream. Another thing of note is his signature. I'm sure a graphologist would have a field day with it, expounding on how positive and strong and honest and hardworking the person is who penned such a nice signature. Since Dean is a doctor, I find it barely credible that he'd have one that looks like it could be easily forged - I mean, he must have got an F in his Indecipherable Writing class at med school.

I don't recall who the person was who said that the only thing a politician needs to succeed is the ability to fake sincerity, but that's a class John Kerry must have flunked at politician school. From his thanks to the people who walk the precincts and staff the phones for his campaigns in each state, to his simplistic railings against everything that George W. Bush has done - culled, no doubt, from testing focus groups with the messages Kerry's rivals use - he seems about as sincere as a silicon gel implant. Or a botox complexion - which is what conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh says Kerry has resorted to in order to look presidential.

And speaking of precinct walking, I'm at it again, once more in the cause of electoral reform. At the March 2 primary here in California there is a local measure on the ballot that will allow our city council to use instant run-off voting in elections once it's feasible to do so without incurring any extra costs. Yesterday was a perfect spring day, and the gardens where I walked were a mix of falling camellias and just-opened apple blossoms. I don't think I've seen so many pungas since I left Kiwiland - they're a popular choice in rich suburbs like the one I was walking in.

Speaking of things Kiwi, lambs have been much on my mind this week. In celebration of the intervention of an angel in Abraham's sacrifice of his son - replacing the child with a lamb and thereby protecting the line of descent of Muslims around the world - today is a holiday for some cultures here in the US. Many lambs will be sacrificed in the nearby city of Stockton where the Eid prayers and picnic are taking place. One person who won't be there is my neighbour, who is actually in Mecca, having gone on a package tour for the haj from his native Yemen.


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