Hot winds mean campaign season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Sometime back in August, I heard fall was expected to arrive early this year. I'm not sure who made that prediction, but boy was it wrong.

We are headed into mid October and it feels more like July. I was thinking about this unseasonable heat wave and its cause when it hit me.

There is only one answer to the unrelenting heat and humidity. The cause is another season, one that comes only in certain years. I'm talking about the season that brings with it hot air from politicians' mouths. Campaign season is here and it's blowing harder than ever.

If you aren't sure about that, switch on the television and watch for five minutes, but first turn the air conditioner on high and run the ceiling fan at top speed because you are going to get a blast of heat from the campaign ads.

Some of these have played so much I now recite them with the announcer.

I heard about sweetheart deals, no new taxes, not paying taxes, working hard, hardly working, liberal buddies, committed conservatives – give me a break.

And why is it that during campaign season the "g" disappears from certain words. For example, elected officials and want-to-be elected officials aren't working. No, they are workin' for us, or not workin' as the case may be, and they will keep workin' and make sure all Alabamians are workin' too if they are elected.

Then there are Alabama values, something candidates are not only workin' for but also protectin'. What in the heck does the phrase "Alabama values" mean anyway? Who decided the values of Alabamians?

And if my values don't fit, should I move to Tennessee?

Oh and I love the ad with the candidate's wife talking about her husband's virtues. She closes by saying she knows if her husband says he can change Alabama; he can change Alabama.

Okay, I give? That means what?

Is he going to change Alabama into, say, Mississippi? I think someone tried to change Alabama into Georgia and that didn't work.

I'm waiting for the guy who says he going to change Alabama into Florida because it has lots of beaches and no tax on groceries.

I can't leave out my favorite candidates. I call them the telephone-number boys.

Maybe the telephone thing started innocently enough. In a campaign ad, the announcer asked people to call and tell his candidate to keep workin' for Alabama's senior citizens.

His opponent apparently got wind of the ad and it went downhill from there.

He promptly came up with an ad of his own. In it all kinds of negative things are said about the other guy, and at the end the announcer suggests voters call his candidate's opponent with a message. At this point I don't remember what we were supposed to say when we called.

Not to be outdone, the original phone guy blasted back with his answer to the second phone guy's ad. Now we were asked to call the second guy and to tell him to stop lying about the first guy. In every ad a big, bold phone number is at the bottom of the screen.

It reminded of my kids when they were small and I caught them being naughty. When I asked who was responsible for the mischief, I got answers not unlike these political ads.

"Mother, he did it."

"Did not. You did it."

"I did not. You did it."

"I promise I didn't do it. He did it."

"He's lying. He did it."

All they needed were phone numbers tacked on the end and they would have had the same messages as the candidates.

I hear fall is finally arriving next week bringing with it cooler temperatures. That will be a nice change.

But wait, I have a prediction. I predict the weather may get cooler, but the hot air won't be gone until sometime in November.