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April 22, 2003


I've been registered as a non-partisan/decline to state voter since the day after I turned 18.

I've heavily considered Libertarian, Green, and Independent status, and given slight consideration to the Democrats.

I recently became a card-carrying member of the ACLU. I also support Doctors Without Borders, the EFF and a few other progressive organizations.

I regularly write letters to my Senators, both of whom are Democrats (in title, at least.)

So I guess it was just a matter of time before I got a mailing from the DNC.

It came a few days ago, in an envelope cleverly marked up to look like an express mailing, haphazardly covered with "hand-written" notes and the like: The 2004 Democratic Presidential Strategy Poll.

The letter enclosed announced, WIL WHEATON, we are very interested in knowing what people like you, WIL WHEATON, care about in this upcoming presidential election. WIL WHEATON, as we craft our strategy, we need your input!

I double-checked the letter, to make sure I wasn't reading something from Publisher's Clearinghouse. I was unable to locate the smiling visage of Ed McMahon, and confirmed that this letter was, indeed, not going to guarantee me a multi-million dollar prize.

Tucked away inside the mailing was a ballot of sorts. It asked me questions like, "Where do you stand on efforts to privatize Social Security" and "How would you characterize our gun laws in America?" (It may surprise regular readers of this site that I checked "Our gun laws are too strong and interfere with an individual's right to bear arms." -- though I've never owned a gun, nor do I intend to.)

The questions provided for very honest responses that were ideologically conservative and liberal, and asked me to write in who I was most likely to vote for right now (at this early stage, I think that's a stupid question, as nobody has taken enough money from corporate lobbysts to formalize their position, yet, but I marked "Howard Dean," so the Democrats know that, if they care about this voter, they'd better quit acting like Republican-light.)

There was also a section for comments, where I wrote: "To earn my vote, the Democrats need to offer strong, clear, different alternatives to the neoconservative agenda which is currenly driving White House policy. Democrats in Congress need to shun coporate money, and return to representing The American People, when the two interests collide. Finally, Democrats need to stand up to the Republican agenda, and start fighting back with the same ferocity the Republicans displayed during 8 years of Clinton/Gore."

Though I am not naive enough to think that anyone at the DNC will give a shit about my opinions, I prepared to send it off to DNC headquarters in the pre-addressed envelope, which was helpfully stamped "RUSH!" in bold red letters.

The only problem was, the envelope was too small for my survey. It was, however, exactly the right size for a personal check. I tried and failed several times to make it fit, but before I gave up, I looked in the booklet one last time and saw the following final questions:

[o] YES! I have completed my Presidential Strategy Poll . . . please share my responses with our Democratic Party's campaign team.

[o] YES. I want to support the presidential election campaign . . . [0]$20 [0]$35 . . .etc.

[o] No. I do not want to become a contributing member . . . but here's my $7.50 to defray the costs of processing my survey.

[o] No. I do not condsider myself a Democrat. Take me off your mailing list.

Go read those again. $7.50 to process this survey? If they're spending $7.50 to process a 4 part survey containing 10 questions, how am I supposed to expect them to wisely spend my money when they're in power?

And sending me an envelope that is too small for the "IMPORANT DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL STRATEGY POLL" but just the right size for a check . . . well that, my friends, is beautifully symbolic of everything that is wrong with American politics.

Posted by wil at April 22, 2003 05:18 PM
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