Discussion

OPINION: Sign-Waving Doesn’t Get You Votes

July 3, 2012, 11:36 AM HST
* Updated July 18, 10:37 AM
Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio...
A
A
A

Years ago, a well-meaning and resourceful politician strolled up to the side of a busy street, raised a hand in the air, and unleashed what would become a cheerful but irritating craze unto the masses.

Big Islander Andy Levin is rumored to have been that first prophet of pleasantry, but like the mythical creation of the Loco Moco, we may never be able to confirm who started it.

Regardless of its founder, this friendly roadside distraction quickly spread throughout the state. Politicians steadily upped the ante on each other, adding wives, children, friends, and obnoxiously large signage to the mix.

Attention candidates: If it takes more than three people to hold up your name, you’re probably overcompensating.

And while wagging an open palm toward the sky may demonstrate some serious shoulder stamina, it’s really not buying you our votes.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Instead, you’re holding our manners hostage. If we wave at every entourage, we feel like we’re tacitly endorsing every aloha shirt on a street corner. But by ignoring you, we may feel mildly jerk-ish, especially if you’ve managed to drag one of our coworkers into your one-armed calisthenics.

Image courtesy of Texas Tech University

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Those of us lucky enough to be traveling 45 miles per hour only have to put up with these displays for 1.5 seconds. But what about bicyclists? The poor bastards. They’ve got to pedal through a slow-motion sea of good cheer without swerving into oncoming traffic.

Apart from being dangerous, this whole craze could also end up ruining millions of years of behavioral evolution.

Until recently, waving a hand in the air meant one of two things: “hello” or “goodbye.” The signals work well, and we’ve used them for centuries. If “vote for me” ends up superseding those two messages, our increasingly self-entitled society might just implode.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

The best-known little secret of course, is that politicians hate doing this. Who wants to stand in the sun (or rain) for hours on end, rotator cuff grinding away, facial muscles contorted into a spasm-inducing grin?

Image courtesy of the Hawaii State legislature

They do it because they have to. If you’re the only candidate not hitting the sidewalk on a Saturday afternoon, you look indifferent by default. This is a smiley-faced stalemate, and none of these guys are going to lay down their arms unilaterally.

We’ve got to save them from themselves.

Petition your local councilmember. Write your state representative, even call the governor. Do whatever it takes to end this madness. And if none of that works?

Start making signs.

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments

Newsletters

Get a quick summary of what’s happening on the Big Island with our daily & weekly email of news highlights.