Well, it’s election time around these parts. We have a ballot full of judges coming up for election at the end of August. I already got my mail-in ballot this week. And along with it there’s been a load of oversized campaign advertisements stuffed in my mailbox every day. How timely that they should all arrive right when my ballot does!
I have never given Judges much thought—I haven’t had to hang around in a courtroom very much in my lifetime—but I have to think they must hate having to campaign. It’s so un-judge-like. I think of them like some meds I have to take. I really want a pill that works hard in my favor when I have something gone wrong. But don’t ask me to spend any time reading about medicines to any extent unless I’m in need of one. Judges must be like a pill you have to swallow when you’re sick (in court) and need help. Otherwise you couldn’t care less.
So here are all these stereotypically stuffy black-robed people running around the neighborhood posting signs on walls, banging them into roadside patches of dirt and rushing off to the post office with stacks of 8-and-a-half by eleven post-cards touting what a gift they are to the great American judicial system.
Speaking of direct-mail, the stuff these guys and gals send out, they are ridiculous. They all must have watched the same How to Make a Direct-Mail Ad for Your Election Campaign video on YouTube because they all sent out virtually the same card. These clones even have the same “Vote by Mail, Early or on August 28th” line prominently appearing somewhere on their post card. They all have a meaningful pitch line like “Deep Roots in Our Community,” or “Endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel & Our Community Organizations.” Of course there are always pictures of them appearing judgmental in their traditional robe and then a few with the family, including the dog. I wonder if the dog is really theirs or if they rent one from the photographer’s studio.
The pity of all this is that the voter more than likely takes these cards and tosses them into the trash, hardly taking a glance at them unless there’s nothing else on the table to read while they’re eating a bowl of puffed wheat. No one wants to take the time to read all this stuff just so they can decide which judge to vote for. Most people are simply apathetic about voting for a judge and don’t want to take the time to study whom they should vote for. Our democracy not at work, at least when it comes to judges.
I don’t know how to remedy the situation. Most folks have never heard of these people. Most don’t want to spend time learning about them unless, of course, it’s Judge Judy. Now Judge Judy has to run a totally different kind of campaign. She just has to keep her ratings up and she’ll keep winning every year. Maybe more judges have to get their own TV shows if they want people to vote for them. There could maybe even be a channel with nothing but judge shows 24/7, all judges all the time. Attorneys would spend a fortune buying time to run their commercials. Hey, I may be on to something there. Yeah, I know, go tell it to the judge!