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Op-Ed

Flyer frenzy

June 6, 2022

I've been inundated with useless political paper. This can't be good for the planet.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Flyer Democracy is bad for the environment. Of course, so is autocracy and pretty much any other form of government not run by concerned scientists. But the environmental impact of democracy has been overlooked.

I say this because I’ve noticed an odd phenomenon now that it’s primary election season in California: I’ve been deluged with flyers arriving with the mail.

I guess this isn’t new but I hadn’t noticed this kind of volume before. I don’t see how the Amazon and the Pacific Northwest forests could still be standing after the harvest for all the paper that’s been used for campaigns. Isn’t this supposed to be the age of the internet?

Why is this happening? Is anyone really persuaded by a cryptic message on cardboard that randomly shows up in a mailbox? (I’ve also never understood the value of front lawn signs. Does anyone suddenly realize whom to vote for when they see a name on a sign? Should someone who is persuaded by a lawn sign be allowed to vote?)

I had been tossing the flyers until, for some reason, I decided to look at a couple of them. Then I started collecting them. Many of them are really weird.

I live in Long Beach, California. I’m guessing if you start examining your local flyers, you’ll see some similar things.

My favorite so far is the one that says “Long Beach Area Republican Party supports Gerrie Schipske for City Attorney.”

At first glance, that seemed kind of normal. Then I looked at the other side of the flyer. It said: “Long Beach Democrats Support Assistant City Attorney Dawn McIntosh for Long Beach City Attorney.”

Huh?

Well, I guess that’s fair and balanced. I was puzzled by this until I looked at a sample ballot — there’s no party designation for the candidates. Calling someone a Republican in a Democratic area is all the mudslinging you need. (According to the Schipske website, she is a former executive director for the Orange County Democratic Party who hasn’t asked for a Republican endorsement.)

Then there was this, accompanied by a picture of a shark: “If a great attorney is known as a shark, electing Assistant City Attorney Dawn McIntosh will give Long Beach a great white shark as City Attorney.”

Now I’m just frightened.

I should note here that most of the flyers say they are not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate. If I were a candidate, I wouldn’t want to be blamed for this stuff either.

All this does — for me, anyway — is underscore the problem with democracy, especially when it comes to local elections for jobs like auditor or school board member or judge. We don’t really know anything about these people and don’t have enough time and energy to find out.

That’s how so many weird people get elected. You find out who they are when it’s too late.

So what is a responsible voter to do?

Recycle.

Visual challenge. Please examine the two images above. Can you spot the differences between them?

I know. How can you tell them apart?

I point this out because AXM LLC has filed a federal trademark infringement suit in Los Angeles against XFL Properties LLC that says the two logos are confusingly similar.

I’m looking forward to a lengthy court ruling on the difference between an “E” and an “X.”

Switching sides. Those of you who are fans of the “ox being gored” maxim will enjoy the online give-and-take between Slate and National Review last week.

On Wednesday, Slate ran a piece recommending that Supreme Court justices should, in effect, stage a filibuster to prevent Roe v. Wade from being overturned.

On Thursday, National Review responded with an article that said it’s progressives who won’t accept results they don’t like and will do anything to get their way.

Maybe we all have a lot more in common than we realize.

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