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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


August 19, 2008

Passing on Pollsters

Norman M. Covert

(A note: A former colleague called because someone said I had “passed,” that gentle phrase for expired, died, crossed the bar, bought the farm! I assured him I am among the living, with appreciation to some and “shame on you” to a couple of medical geniuses, who delayed fixing the broken ventricular lead in my pacemaker. See me at “FMH at the Y.”)

 

My son assures me that I should feel no guilt in hanging up on telemarketers. It is not alright, he says, to listen to pre-recorded messages about my car’s warranty, or Part D Medicare insurance and such. In that state of mind, I should have “passed” on a recent political phone call that probably verged on the sophomoric.

 

The voice never identified herself or her company. She got right into her poll without the usually required preliminary demographic stuff about age, party affiliation, and socio-economic status. My statistical analysis professor would have thrown the chalk at any who deigned to ask for what amounts to anecdotal responses.

 

She explained responses to questions should be based on a scale of 1-5, whether I agreed or disagreed with the first or second statement, with one being “strongly agree.”

 

“Do you strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, disagree or strongly disagree that we need a presidential candidate who will bring real change to America; as opposed to a presidential candidate with experience in Washington?”

 

That was easy, I thought, as I gave my answer. I never did count real high.

 

“… on the same scale, “she continued,” should the United States keep troops in Iraq until the war is won and Iraq is stabilized; or do you agree, (etc.) on immediate withdrawal of the troops and let the Iraq soldiers fight the way….”

 

“Duh,” I muttered, to use a modern phrase for “are you kidding me?”

 

Okay, the next one: “Do you favor Elizabeth Dole or Kay Hagan in the senatorial race?”

 

I hadn’t realized the senator from North Carolina was running for re-election. I also thought it strange to link someone from Frederick County with a senatorial race in North Carolina. It may be a “what-if” question, I opined, still unsure of the links to Maryland.

 

It wasn’t outlandish, I realize, to have Commissioner Kai Hagen come to mind. I know our guy Kai (not Kay, whom I "Googled") has shown he could be Senator Obama’s kin, appearing to be an empty suit, with a lot of scripted mouth above the lapels. Anyway, it wasn’t Kai Hagen, it was Kay Hagan. I’ll bet this Ms. Hagan doesn’t like incinerators, an hourly wage, carpenters or plumbers either.

 

So, now we came to another poser: “Do you favor (never heard of him) or (never heard of him) in the race for governor?

 

I said who? Then asked, “In what state are they running to be governor?” Again she said, “I don’t know, I’m just reading what’s on the card.” So I passed on this one, I probably would not have picked the Democrat. Just a guess, you understand.

 

The next query was not a difficult one either: “Do you favor a pro-choice candidate or a pro-life candidate in the election.” Another stupid question, of course Sen. John McCain doesn’t thrill me on this one, either.

 

So, now the clincher, it’s what the poll is getting at all along – it’s race, stoopid!

 

“The last question is, do you agree or disagree? Are the American people ready to elect a Black man as president?”

 

Well, it wasn’t subtle, just took time to get there! Who are these people? I guess “change” means we’re going to start accepting the notion that inanity is the way of the future.

 

I’ll hang up next time!

 



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