Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I came trotting home to lunch from work the other day, saw my message light blinking, hit the play button and heard, “Hi! This is Senator JOHN McCAIN.”


The only thing that would have put me off my feed more would have been to hear, “HI! This is SARAH PALIN” booming out of the phone in my very living room.

Apparently I was one of millions of people of a certain age being phoned at the same moment to receive this recorded message warning us that we needed to “stop the Democrats from cutting $500 billion of vital Medicare coverage for our seniors” and urging us to “fight a Washington, D.C., government takeover of your health care.”

The message was state specific: Colorado residents were told to contact Sen. Michael Bennet and tell him to support McCain’s amendment. Bennet, god bless him, has said he’ll vote for health reform even if it costs him his seat. (Note to Michael: Don’t cave!)

The funny thing was, McCain gave us a WEBSITE to go to!

Now I know that some seniors are computer literate (I myself am marginally included in this category), but a hell of a lot of us don’t know a website from a crocodile pit and would not be likely to take an online opinion poll! An 800-number would have been more appropriate, if “appropriate” can be used in this instance.

Whatever happened to the No Call List, and why in the world are politicians excluded?

At the end, an extremely rapidly-speaking voice said that the call was being paid for by the Republican Senatorial Committee, implying to me that this was a political ad designed to (a) undermine the health care bill and (b) unseat Michael Bennet by scaring old people with alarmist lies.

As a living example of Existing Preconditions, I can attest that I would be way up the creek with no paddle if I had been uninsured and would never, at that point, have been able to GET insured.

Several days following my personal message from John McCain, my phone rang and, on picking up, there was that pregnant little pause that precedes a robo message. I almost hit the OFF button but realized just in time that it was a rebuttal message from the Democrats.

I know the callers pay by the second for these messages, but I have some advice to robocallers who are targeting seniors. First, speak loudly and clearly – most of our ears have been blown out by early rock music. Second, speak slowly – our comprehension and attention spans aren’t what they used to be. I would like to report exactly what the Democratic caller said, but it is something of a blur.

A very excited-sounding man, possibly an out-of-work car salesman, starting, “You may have recently received a call from Senator John McCain” and then going into a rant saying it was all lies, lies, lies and not to be afraid, no Medicare benefits would be taken away, support Michael Bennet, bim-bam thank you ma’am.

If he introduced himself, I didn’t catch it, no phone number OR website was given and I’m pretty sure there was no paid-for disclaimer.

I support health care reform, I support Michael Bennet, but I don’t support this kind of “just as bad as they were” retaliatory robocall behavior from my side. Can’t we all just get along?

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