Sometimes I wonder if the world is in fact listening to my thoughts for the sole purpose of proving me wrong. I had just written a note to myself yesterday morning:
“A recent Pew Poll finds that 100% of Americans have a landline phone.”
This is of course a joke on the fact that phone surveys are done over landlines. Imagine my complete shock when I got a call last night as I was making dinner from a number I didn’t recognize...
“Hello, may I speak to ‘Ginx’ please.”
“This is ‘Ginx.’”
“Hi ‘Ginx,’ do you have a few minutes to answer some questions for a telephone survey?”
I am in the habit of picking up numbers I don’t recognize because I get a lot of wrong numbers (I think a car repair place has the same number as me, only off by 1, because I get questions about mufflers and radiators and engine parts on a weekly basis, often in my voicemail). Even if I’m “busy,” I have a few moments to help someone sort out which number they’re actually trying to reach.
But this… this is the motherload! How often do you get someone actually asking your opinion? Most of us just post it on the internet, where our opinions are immortalized in a format which can be eternally ignored. And it was a political pollster to boot!
I was excited. So I turned off the stove and let the taco meat sit there for a while as I answered questions. They asked me about local politicians I had never heard of at first, but it slowly moved into more familiar politicians and issues. I gave Barack Obama a “fair” rating, which was between “good” and “bad.” This was generous of me, but I had to consider the fact that Obama actually did some things:
- Signing a law which enables women who allege pay discrimination to sue their employer
- Lifting the Bush restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research
- Approving 2,500 highway projects, which will create 260,000 jobs in all fifty states
There’s a few other minor accomplishments, though they are not the reason he was elected. I seriously considered giving him a bad rating because of his policy in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and the fact that he just brushes off the Drug War is ignorant and disheartening. Perhaps my standards after Bush are just embarrassingly low. Between “Very good, Good, Fair, Bad, or Very Bad,” I think fair is still simultaneously the best and worst he could possibly deserve.
She also asked how I felt about issues like abortion, which I’m all for. I have abortions before breakfast (over easy). She also read aloud some political ads. I seriously laughed out loud during the Republican one. “[My opponent] has applied for every elected office in Pennsylvania…” So he’s persistent and has experience? This is a bad thing? No offense, but the only professional I respect for having less experience is a whore… which I assume includes this particular Republican… but I still went with the Dem.
The problem is, there were only two issues I recall being specifically asked about: Obama and abortion. Everything else was just “do you prefer A or B.” This dichotomous system has some flaws. Let me give you a non-political example:
“Which would you rather eat, gum that your wife just spit out or lead paint chips?”
“…I guess the gum.”
“Alright. Now, would you consider yourself more of a hater of cats or a lover of walruses?”
“… Well I don’t hate cats, so I guess… lover of walruses?”
Sometimes you just don’t like either choice, and sometimes you feel strongly about one and nothing for the other, and yet have implied preference for such. Then there’s the third situation, which happened to me. I was actually asked which I agreed with more, the 2nd amendment or a woman’s right to choose. I went with the woman’s right to choose, but it’s not like I oppose gun ownership. If I had to choose, I’d rather live in a world where guns were outlawed than a world where abortion was outlawed, but I think we should just go on living in one with both.
So now that I’ve been polled, I have to wonder… why are they designed so poorly, and when did they start gaining access to cell phones?