Tonawanda News

November 9, 2012

ADAMCZYK: Caution: Read the return address before you open the envelope

By Ed Adamczyk
The Tonawanda News

— Enough, for the while, of the cult of state. 

The people who will tell us government cannot solve every problem just concluded a costly exercise in attempting to demonstrate they have an answer for everything. My preferences largely won their contests, the waiting line to vote at the former St. Paul’s school in Kenmore was nonexistent at 6:20 in the morning, the various states’ various referenda indicate the country is moving the way I think it should and the unruly surrogates of candidates Amodeo and Grisanti, those PACs with access to printing presses, no longer haunt my mailbox.

Every day for the past month I have received at least two pieces of mail from these guys or their proxies, oversized postcards printed in flashy colors indicating opposing opinion on Mr. Grisanti’s voting record, trustworthiness, willingness to fight for me, etc., some with suspicious-sounding return addresses that offer defense of marriage, the family, the future or whatever. I envision some overworked guy in a printing plant, running two adjacent machines, each pumping out paper with conflicting data that are stacked, addressed and sent to households all over Kenmore. Except for the machine operator and perhaps the mailman, the messages neutralize each other. Political entropy in action.

So now, Big Bird is safe, as are pregnant women, non-pregnant women and parents who will not suffer suasion to loan their entrepreneurial kids 10 grand to start a business. Mrs. Romney’s horse will not graze the White House lawn, and we still get to enjoy the comic stylings of Joe Biden.

Elderly white guys like me take a back seat to the most important people in America (at the moment), Latinos who vote. Every month in this country, so the Rev. Al Sharpton tells me, 50,000 citizens of Latin-American heritage turn 18, and according to stereotype they tend to be hard-working, upward-striving, conservative, family-oriented and religious. Just like the Republican Party, according to stereotype, and watching how the party, depicted typically as rich and old and pale, will twist like pretzels to welcome this voting bloc, should be hilarious.

I’ll admit to being elderly, male and white. All that other stuff, no. (I feel like commentator Rachel Maddow, who goes out of her way to find religious and political tracts that condemn “homosexuals, fornicators and heathens” so she can read them on the air and happily exclaim “Hey! That’s me!”) I like the idea that an American can walk down the street and not be readily identified as in any category except age, height, weight, gender, maybe his/her attitude toward working out and maybe level of hipness of attire, and it’s about the only thing I appreciate about the casualness of style these days. (Attend a wake in the same Bills sweatshirt and jeans you wear to Wegmans? No problem!) You can’t tell by looking at me what I think, what I am, until I open my trap and inform you. Let ‘em all guess if I’m a Communist or a Gingrich Republican or what.

The logjam in Washington will continue. Expect a rise in the importance of the “non-governmental organization,” groups like churches and Greenpeace and non-profit culturals and anything Bono signs onto, the unified influencers who will carry the ball for one of your causes or another without having to run them through Congress. Expect the return of the Christian left, and those progressive ministers who have a lot of heart but need to find their spines. 

To paraphrase the legendary sports announcer Curt Goudy, we’ve got our whole future ahead of us, and that includes slow-moving white guys, motivated young Latinas and Congressional talkers in bad suits. This election seems to have gently nudged us deeper into the 21st century, it seems, with an awareness that we can agree on the big stuff and beat each other to death over the rest, but only if we choose to.

Government is like television; you can treat it as an overbearing caretaker, or you can benefit from it. I suggest you choose the latter. Now tell me if that’s a Democratic or Republican approach.




Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at