Just be nice when you get one of ‘those’ calls
About “those” phone calls – you know the ones I mean – an unknown person is calling, and it’s clearly a political call. Well, I’m one of “those” people.
Let me tell you about my calls, why I call, and what they’re about. You might want to take my calls.
I know that many of you say you’re sick of politics so just tune out “all things political.” You only think you tune them out. There is no escape from TV ads, or stuff roaring through the ozone and coming to you via the internet. Some of that information – realized or not, true or not – sticks in some back corner of your brain.
I’m a precinct chair-person and am usually calling simply to let you know about an event or meeting that you may not have heard about or noticed in the community calendar sections of all our local newspapers. Sometimes both of our local political parties spend expensive, but worth-while, dollars on printed ads, flyers or posters. You may not have seen any of these in the media or on our internet contact lists either, so we (helpfully and hopefully) phone you to invite your attendance.
In the first words out of my mouth I’ll tell you who I am, that I’m local, I live near you, and why I’m calling. If you don’t hang up or otherwise dismiss me, I promise you my conversation will be short and to the point.
Most of my calls are usually only to the people of my party. Closer to the election, I may call you to remind you of what our new N.C. laws require of you so your vote will count. I’ll call you about dates, times and places for early voting. Sometimes I may even be calling some of you who are registered as ‘Unaffiliated’ (aka: Independent) voters. That said, let me remind “Independents,” you set yourselves up to hear from both Democrats and Republicans, so you might want to rethink your registration (there’s a deadline for changing that too). We may think we have a pretty good idea of which party you favor, but we’ll hedge our bets and call you just the same.
Of course, if you really want to chat I’ll advocate for my party. That is entirely up to you. Unless I’m phone banking for a candidate (a whole other type call), my opening words are simply “Hi, I’m Shirl, and I’m your East Franklin precinct chairperson for the Democratic Party. I’m calling to let you know that we’re having an event” – a breakfast, a dinner, a BBQ, our annual precinct meeting, or a whole party gathering such as county convention or to meet a candidate. Just be nice! Listen, and say “thank you.” (I’ll bet my Republican counterpart agrees.)
It’s important to learn and know, even if you think you “know it all” – indeed, that is something none of us can do. That said, I’ll be calling – soon.
Shirley Ches — Franklin, N.C.
Trump offering no workable solutions
After listening to Donald Trump’ s speech, I got the feeling that the earth was spinning out of its orbit and about to crash into the sun, and only Donald Trump could save us. According to Mr. Trump, crime is out of control, there is/was a terrorist behind every building, Illegals are flooding across the border, and our very social fabric was coming apart. Only he, Donald Trump, has the secret plan to save us.
This very emotional plea for nationalism, America First, is just what many unhappy citizens what to hear. Much of what he said has no basis in fact, but a fact-based appeal was never his intent. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of problems in this country and we do live in a very dangerous world. But the picture he paints is false and the solutions to the problems we face involve more than just, “I am Donald Trump, trust me.”
For example, in 2013, the violent crime rate was the lowest since 1970. About a third of that current crime is drug related. Where is the solution to the drug problem. It’s not “law and order” and more jails. We already incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country.
Obama said illegal “immigration is lower than it’s been in 40 years.” Politifact rated this statement as “Mostly True.” The fact is, that illegal immigration is at a very low rate. We do not need a wall with Mexico, we need an comprehensive immigration policy. I did not hear anything about that in the speech.
The Middle East is a mess. The always simmering Sunni-Shia civil war was reignited by our invasion of Iraq, and now ISIS poses a threat worldwide. The greatest danger we face is homegrown ISIS followers seeking a violent suicide. Our best defense is the Muslim community. Every one of their leaders have pledged to cooperate in rooting out these terrorists. Yet Mr. Trump wants to ban all Muslims and turn that community into the enemy. This is not a solution. It is like pouring gasoline on the fire.
Race relations feel like they are at a low ebb. But, in fact, we are far from the bad old days of the race riots of the 1960s. Still many have never accepted the fact that Barack Obama is our president. That, together with the recent police shootings and murders of police officers, has put the country on edge. Mr. Trump has done nothing to calm this dangerous undercurrent of hate. In fact his actions have tended only increase it. His call for “law and order” has sent the wrong message to both sides. This does not sound like a solution.
Perhaps in the coming months Mr. Trump will propose real solutions the terrible state of affairs he see. But, at the moment, it appears all he sees is a way to channel the anger of his followers into victory for himself.
Louis Vitale — Franklin, N.C.