Monday, April 10, 2006

About a Random Conversation...

I ran into John yesterday while I was on my lunch break from the book store. I hadn't seen him in a few weeks, and I hadn't ever discussed politics with him, as I had previously only spoken with him while we were working--and, of course, the company has a policy that discourages talking politics. Well, as this was my lunch break and as he's moved on to other employ, I asked him whether he had heard that I am running for president.

Almost immediately, he said, "I'll vote for you."

My instant response was, "Don't vote for me unless you're already not going to vote for someone else."

Interesting, this, because John knew nothing about my politics and I knew nothing about his, but he turned out to be exactly the sort of person at whom my campaign is aimed. In describing himself as someone who has opted out of the voting process, and in describing his reasons for having done so, he made it very clear that my target audience is not just a theoretical quantity. It is a living, breathing segment of the population.

This, of course, is something that I knew, but it was nice to hear it described so precisely by someone other than myself.

John used the term "puppet" where I have been known to use the term "bozo" (see my candidacy announcement). But that's just a matter of semantics, no?

Since I started this campaign, I have been deeply (almost troublingly) surprised by two things:
  1. How terribly easy it is to say "I'm running for president."
  2. How often the response is "I'll vote for you."
Add to this list my recent revelation about how easy it is to come across people who either are in my target audience or who are teetering on the edge of falling in. I'm generally very much an introvert. I don't do a lot of talking in general, and I do especially little talking with people I don't know. But every once in a while, I hand someone one of my campaign business cards or tell someone about my candidacy. My experience with John was the second similar experience in a week. The first was a discussion with a young waiter in a restaurant in MD. I don't think he was quite at the stage of having opted out, but he was clearly frustrated by the political system as it currently operates, and very encouraging to what I told him of what I'm doing.

As for the first, I have described this phenomenon as follows:
This would be a dangerous piece of knowledge if only I had actual aspirations of getting elected or if I thought for a second that I might extend my great experiment beyond these four years.

As for the second, I see three possible explanations:
  • People view me as extremely trustworthy. (I hope)
  • People just think it might be cool to vote for someone they've met, no matter what that person represents. (I fear)
  • People are so very bothered by the status quo that they figure I can't be any worse than what they already get. (I suspect)

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