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Letter: Dorian Gray Runs For Office

“A picture does [not] say a thousand words” unless you are looking at Dorian Gray. The politicians have started early this year due to the primary season. Noted guru Marshall McLuhan once wrote that “the medium is the message.” That being the case, what is the medium deployed by our politicians and what is the message?

Currently blighting our environment are political signs, illegally posted on both public and private lands. These signs tell us the name of the candidate, the office they are seeking and their political party — but that is all. The point is that candidates pray that signs will increase their name recognition causing voters to cast their ballots for them irrespective of their otherwise lackluster records.

Delusions of grandeur coupled with obscene campaign contributions build these candidates into truly minor, local celebrities where brainwashed voters are hoodwinked into electing them on the basis of party loyalty, pretty faces, road signs and false, negative advertising.

But what do these insulting road signs which obliterate the landscape, distracting us from traffic conditions, really tell us about these arrogant candidates? As in the case of most political advertising, they tell us nothing.

Road signs and campaign stickers are the cheapest form of advertising but not needed by candidates with legitimate name recognition and those with big money available for paid television advertising. So what does this mean for voters trying to navigate safely through this mine field of junk advertising? It means that you have to be more than informed.

You must be a psychologist as well to determine why candidates seek public office and whether they have the qualifications, knowledge, insight and courage to solve the problems which we face. We should need them more than they need us. Slogans do not suffice.

Most candidates secure nominations and even elections for all the wrong reasons. They have flown below the radar throughout their careers avoiding controversy and have joined the local church and Kiwanis Club. They want a title, paid vacations, pensions and medical insurance. Their mediocrity then becomes our mediocrity. Road signs are a symbol telling us that candidates expect that they can get by with a smile and a handshake. In the past that is all they needed.

Thomas F. Liotti