IN-HOUSE: Political flyers clog our mailboxes and our minds

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
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U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams’ dog speaks in this image taken from a Williams political flyer received recently in the mail.

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Dwight Harriman, Enterprise News Editor

Oh, that the election were today. That would spare us six more days of being tortured by mailed political flyers before the Nov. 6 election. Six days of peace is nothing to sneeze at in this mid-term election’s tempestuous climate.

I collected flyers clogging my mailbox over the past month as part of a totally unscientific survey of who is saying what. I dirtied my hands so that you, the reader, could learn the following:

Most of the flyers deal with Initiative 185, with the number of pamphlets split fairly evenly for and against. But don’t ask me what I-185 is about. The flyers scream at me to Vote Yes on 185! Vote No on 185! and proffer vague slogans about what the initiative actually is — something about tobacco, Medicaid, veterans, the Constitution and the state budget? Who knows what a yes or no vote means. But I know for sure I have to vote for it or against it. At least that’s clear.

Another popular flyer dealt with Initiative 186. At least this one doesn’t have so many topics — it seems to be mostly about mining and stuff. If I vote for it, I am for mining, right? No wait, if I vote against it, that actually means I’m for it? Pass the Tylenol. All I know is if I vote correctly, I’ll “protect the Montana way.”

Even in flyer numbers with I-186 were general anti-Democrat/pro-Trump flyers with sinister black and white photos of U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer caught by the camera with weird expressions on their faces. The flyer asks me to “Return your ballot today!” I’d rather just return the flyers to whoever sent them.

Also in my mailbox was a batch of anti-U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale flyers with sinister photos of him as well, but these, interestingly, were in color and didn’t go out of their way to make him look bad. That’s because, let’s admit it, Rosendale’s visage naturally looks bad anyway, bearing a stern, brooding look even on a good short-cropped hair day.

Then there’s the pro-Jon Tester flyers where the good-old-boy, seven-fingered dirt farmer U.S. senator is either shown as the common man shoveling on his farm, or carrying a gun hunting, or looking concerned. Most of all he’s fighting — “relentlessly,” according to the flyer — for us.

By the way, all politicians of both stripes are using these fighting words — they are always fighting for us in Congress, fighting for Montana values, or fighting for veterans or the environment. Always fighting, fighting, fighting. Give me a break. You’re all fighting for re-election.

Interestingly, no flyers in the mailbox specifically against U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte. Probably because with that attack on the reporter dogging him everywhere he goes, why should the Democrats waste money on flyers? It’s a Democratic campaign manager’s dream — let news stories do your work for you.

But the flyer that takes the cake is U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams’ dog flyer. Yes, a dog flyer. It pictures her with her dog, Daisy, next to slogans in big letters: “Some Might Say Congress Has Gone to the Dogs,” and “We Need More Dog Lovers In Our Dog-Eat-Dog Congress.” Flip the flyer over and there are more pictures of her and the dog. One even has the dog saying, “My mother, Kathleen Williams, takes care of me and she’ll take care of you as Montana’s member of Congress.”

As comedian Dave Barry would say, you can’t make this stuff up.

By the way, guess what else it says next to the Williams dog pics? You guessed it. She will “fight for you in Congress.”

The only thing I want politicians to do is fight to keep junk out of my mail box. Life is hard enough already.