I think our nation is truly ‘poll crazy’

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I think America is poll crazy. Everything our politicians do seems to be driven by some poll.
Yet how many of you have been polled? Sometimes we hear the statement, after some questionable poll numbers, “Well, they didn’t ask me!”
Or you might have asked the question, “Just who are they polling?”
Just a few days ago, I answered the telephone and the nice lady on the other end identified herself as a representative for the Gallup Polls and wanted to ask me a few questions. I was immediately skeptical.
“What are you selling?” were the first words out of my mouth. Even though we might register with that service that seeks to exclude our telephone numbers from direct sales solicitations, there are still those callers who get through.
They might be representing good causes like the American Cancer Society or the Disabled Vets or numerous other causes that tempt us to give money. They always open with a disclaimer that informs us that they are not selling anything. It only takes a few seconds before they ask for a donation. It’s sort of irritating, no matter the good cause.
This call, however, never asked for money; just my answers to her questions. Was I happy with my life? That was a good question.
“Yes,” I answered. My rationale was that life is not perfect and there are always challenges. At the same time, I have been blessed with a good family, a good mind (don’t laugh), good physical health, a vocation that is very satisfying, a house that is comfortable, and a car that cranks and has four good tires.
Oh, I almost forgot — a good appetite and plenty to eat.
In addition to all the present blessings in my life, I have the absolute assurance of an eternal life in the greatest of all places. What else could a person want? Of course I am happy.
I figured she would get around to politics sooner or later. Are you liberal, conservative, or independent? That took some thinking, although I was able to nix the first option pronto. I used to be liberal in my younger days. I refer to a quote attributed to Winston Churchill, but not absolutely certain that he is the author.
“If you’re not liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you are older, you have no brain.”
I admit that I am definitely not a liberal, but would like to think that I am an independent thinker that certainly leans toward the conservative end of the political spectrum. Labels don’t always tell the complete story.
She asked me what I thought of most of the Republican candidates seeking the nomination. There was no opportunity for expanded answers; just a phrase that represented a scale from “very high to not so good.” Those weren’t the exact words, but she was asking who I might prefer, assuming that I preferred any of them.
I didn’t show my hand or express great support for any of them.
It’s not that I don’t like them, just haven’t made up my mind yet as to which one will get my vote. I gave them all an “Okay.”
She asked, “What about the direction of the country?” I said it’s going south and didn’t mean that it was headed in the direction of the sunny part of the United States. I could have said downhill and meant the same thing.
Most of her questions were general in nature and the survey took about 10 minutes. She was very nice and thanked me for my participation. When she was finished, I asked her if she was sure she didn’t want a contribution to some organization. She laughed and I thanked her for giving me the opportunity to tell everyone that I had been polled.
There were a few questions that she did not ask so I will include them here. I’ve been thinking about them lately.
What do you think about the Occupy Wall Street crowd? “I think that idle hands are the devil’s workshop and we need a quick jobs program for them.”
How about our hardworking Congress? “I don’t think the words ‘hardworking’ and ‘Congress’ should be used in the same sentence.”
What about the President’s latest bus tour through the South, touting his jobs plan? “I hope the people’s money isn’t paying for the diesel.”
And finally, what about the Republican debates? “Are we having another one of those?”
The next time you hear a report based on the latest Gallup Poll and you say, “Who are those crazy people they polled?” Well, now you know.

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