Other Voices: My adventure into the culture of politics
Today we received another series of computerized political calls. And today I decided to attempt to do something about it.
I first called the Republican Party in Placer County because I could find no listing for the Republican Party in Nevada County. Unlisted number, I guess. Astute political savvy on their part, for sure. No one was minding the Republican store at the Placer number just a fortnight scant of the election, but the answering machine directed me to two numbers to sign up for the lobster feed fundraiser. Dialing one, the phone was answered by a woman who said I wanted to talk to her husband who was presently at “some Republican thingy.” Sounded like high-level placement to me, so I told her I would be calling back to speak with him.
I then called Democratic Party Headquarters of Nevada County. Yep, listed right there in the pink pages. More political savvy. Stan answered and I told him of the barrage of calls we were receiving from both majors. He said that nobody there could do anything about my getting phone calls, that he was just a volunteer working, and that his group was not part of the Democratic Party. I told him I found that strange since I got his number by looking up Democratic Party HQ in our local phone book.
He allowed that maybe they were part of the Democratic Party, but they were not connected to the state or national party. Astounding political savvy.
While feeling hopelessly outclassed in the smarts department, I somehow rallied the capacity to ask for the name of the person who managed the county effort. Stan readily gave me the name of the lady upstream and volunteered her home phone number. Wow. Finally a political party with accessible human leadership. I spoke with Marge who was both pleasant and informed. With a chuckle, she assured me her group was affiliated with the Democratic Party. She did agree to take my name and my complaint, but she said nothing could be done because all entities within the Democratic Party operate independently of one another. “Really? How can you hope to win an election with all those arms and no head?” I asked. Marge concurred that their system of non-organization did have a drawback or two.
Feeling now that I was on the cusp of entering a labyrinth of unprecedented political intrigue, a signal from some long-buried brain cell prodded me to ask if there were by chance a person whom she might know functioning at a state level. She gave me the name and number of Art Torres, who, it turns out, is the state chair. One ring and Laura answered, “California Democratic Party.” I outlined my issue in one now well-rehearsed sentence about multiple computer-generated calls from Democrats and Republicans.
“Well, I can’t do anything about the calls you are getting from Republicans,” she snorted impatiently. Astute political savvy is wide and deep there in Sacramento. I told her as a citizen that I wanted to register our displeasure about receiving so many calls, letting her know we have gone to the effort to register our phone on the federal Do Not Call List. She interrupted to let me know that political parties are legally exempt from observing the Do Not Call List. Already knowledgeable of this lawful loophole, I explained that I was speaking beyond legal prescription and raising a question of moral and social accountability, using language I thought would be attractive to a Democrat.
Her snappy response was, “Well, we have voted morally and socially that it is legal for political parties to call numbers on the Do Not Call List.” Obviously, Laura is a sharp political operative with a keen sense of how to win over a voter. Uh-huh, I asked her if I could quote her and she said yes. Refreshing.
Let me take this opportunity to announce that in 2008 I am running for president. Register to vote with the Common Sense Use Your Head and Heart Party. Seems like the two majors have most all of the other types.
Dan H. Prout lives in Nevada City.
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