Saturday, July 29, 2006


A couple weeks ago, I took a trip to the emergency room. Mind you, it was not voluntary visit – they really never are. I had to have my appendix out. It was a fairly unpleasant couple days, but I’ll survive. An appendix is of those things that the doctors can’t really explain. See, we have one, but apparently we don’t actually need it. At some point many, many years ago, we might have needed it. (If you believe in evolution – not trying to spark a great debate, jut letting you know about my surgery). Well, mine’s gone now and I am one appendix lighter, although I experienced no significant weight loss, and I was confined to jello for several days.

One of the things that really struck me while I was in the hospital was the absence of politics. I mean really – here’s this captive audience right, folks who can’t leave or do anything else for that matter, and there is no politics.

As far as I know, St. Joe’s doesn’t allow candidates to campaign door-to-door at the hospital, but imagine the possibilities. You could hit hundreds of doors and your doors-to-square-mileage ratio would be outstanding. You can’t really discount the importance of the doors-to-square-mileage ratio when everyone wants 3-acre lots. You would think the politicians would object to 3-acre lots. With the houses so spread out, it’s harder to knock on all the doors and meet your potential constituents. But back to the hospital.

So, you could have the candidates sign up for times during visiting hours and have them divide up by floor and ward. Now, I’m not really sure how that would work with some of these races. Ignoring the token Democratic candidate – there are six candidates on the Republican ballot for Sheriff. There are also so many candidates for judge, I’ve lost count. It reminds me of that old saying: you can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting…(in our case, a candidate for sheriff or judge). But anyways, these candidates would go around and see the patients and distribute their literature. The patients/voters might actually pay attention since the cable TV station line-up is sadly lacking.

Some of your more industrious candidates would be able to come back periodically to hit the votes recovering in the outpatient surgery ward. I really think I’m on to something. The seriously ill patients are marked outside their doors for the staff, and I am assuming that the candidates would be respectful and simply skip those rooms. The real bonus includes the friends and family visiting the patients. The real problem is trying to determine which folks are registered voters. Your odds are pretty good. I would think that citywide and countywide candidates would be okay working St. Joes, here in St. Charles. I think that the same would apply to Barnes in St. Peters and the new new hospitals out west. State Reps, Aldermen and Councilmembers would need to find a slightly different system since it would be nearly impossible to determine if the hospital patient lived in their district/ward, but maybe the hospital could reorganize them? I also think it might be handy for the older guys like Pagano, Hollingsworth and Hoepfner to be near cardiac care while campaigning.

Besides, if the candidates were going door-to-door inside, then we wouldn’t have to listen to that dunce, Barclay, over in St. Peters tell us all about his sunburn from going door-to-door in the summer being much more sunny than going door-to-door in the spring. Of course, I think he had to run like 3 times before he finally won an aldermanic seat in St. Peters, so he might want to invest in a bunch of sunscreen, it may take him a few more tries to win a County Council seat. His consistently silly mentions of his knocking exploits remind me of all the times I heard Perennial candidate Lennie Miller tell the story of wearing out his shoe leather going door-to-door. Maybe I’ll devote an entire column to stupid stories told by candidates, but that is for another day.

The candidates could also post signs in the hospital. Everyone has to look at the signage to find their way around anyway, so they might subliminally process the signage better while they are trying to find the Family Waiting Room. Now, I think there would have to be some guidelines about tasteful signage – this will probably rule out most of the Sheriff candidates and those ridiculous signs that Gartner and Thornhill have put up, but it’s a thought.

Seems that the hospitals are always looking for breaks from the politicians, so it only seems fair the hospitals open their doors to the folks that will ultimately help them out. Think about it, might be kind of interesting. Seems like a timely issue with the elections coming up next month.

I’m not really sure what to think about this year’s Primary Election. There are a lot of contested races, but nothing that makes you want to run out to the polls and vote. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be there to vote, because I believe that’s the responsibility of all Americans, but I’m not really sure that I feel strongly about the outcome.

I’ll be sharing my own voter’s guide with you in my next column, which comes out right before the election, and there are so many races and so many candidates to consider – that was SIX Republican candidates for Sheriff, too many to count for Judge, and a few RINOs to boot. After all, I had plenty of time to think about it while I was waiting to have my appendix out and then, recovering.

Much more to come on the upcoming election, but in the meantime, give some thought to my idea about politicians being allowed to campaign at the hospital…I really think I’m onto something here.