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Musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for six decades

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Fisher on Running For Office
George Ross FisherLast night, I was honored to receive the Republican nomination for a seat in the state Assembly, to represent the district where I have lived for over fifty years.

Fisher on Issue Politics

 robo-calls
robo-calls

Within an hour of receiving my nomination to office, I was handed a folder full of letters to answer. There were fifty of them, at least. One after another, they contained questionnaires for me to fill out, answering slanted questions in bewildering detail. Every one of them seemed to come from a national organization, dedicated to the advancement of some cause or other, from abortion to gun control, which I had not had time to consider. Remember, for years I have attended a weekly luncheon at a club devoted to discussing the news on the editorial pages and elsewhere. We have argued long and hard about hundreds of topics, but never have I encountered issues in such minute detail, cloaked in such threatening terms. There are issues in the healthcare field that I know about in detail, but they did not happen to be present in the packet of questionnaires threatening to take up hours of my time. Nor, for all I could see, were they of particular concern to citizens of my district. I'm pretty familiar with the district where I have lived for decades, and almost everyone I meet on the street bids me a Good Morning. I thought the dialogue was to be between them and me; if other issues come up, I was to use my best judgment because they trusted me. Or maybe I would have to do some research on a topic and go back to consult with the people who elected me.

But that doesn't seem to be how it will turn out, if this deluge of hammering from outside issue groups is any example of what I might be in for. They aren't educating me, or supplying me with information I needed for a decision, they were threatening me that if I didn't answer promptly they would pummel me with robo-calls, post-cards, maybe demonstrations by people in T-shirts with slogans, who would then get on the bus and go back where they came from, as soon as they see the television cameramen pack up and leave. I had heard of issue politics in the newsmedia, but seeing it in action is pretty annoying. It's synthetic, it's paid for, and it gets between me and my voters.

So, when I find time, I plan to make up a form letter, telling them as politely as I can manage that their letter is being returned unopened. Or at least, unopened by me, because perhaps "my staff" will find something of value buried in the midst of this hired trash.

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