As I drive around town, I am struck by the large amount of election sign clutter on the roadways. Everywhere I look, there is an election sign littering the landscape. I think of all the raw materials, energy, and time wasted on manufacturing, distributing, and placement of this litter; it's enough to make Al Gore cry...or maybe not.
When I arrive home and check my mailbox, it's stuffed full of election material. I wouldn't mind this printed material so much if it contained thoughtful and detailed treatises of a candidate's platform, views, and plans. Instead my mailbox is stuffed with election fluff: postcards, flyers, and brochures; none of which have a single useful bit of information other than to shout the candidate's name. Again, what a tremendous waste of materials and energy for something that will go straight into a landfill.
And it's not just physical signs and literature. Every day my voicemail is cluttered with recorded election messages. What's the use of a "do not call" telemarketer law when the caller is a computer playing a recorded message? How is it that election campaigns are allowed to skirt the "do not call" lists? Is the American electorate so shallow as to be truly influenced by a 20 second recording?
I am so glad today is election day so that the phone calls and junk mail will end. Unfortunately, I will still have to see roadside election signs for weeks to come. I know that campaigns are supposed to clean up after an election, but I somehow suspect that they're lacking in motivation and manpower after an election. I've noticed that some of signs are cleaned up, but I'm guessing that over half the signs are left to rot on the roadside.
I'm certain there's an insightful symbolism between the wasteful clutter and our frenzied election process, but I'm too tired to articulate it at the moment.