On December 8th the State of Massachusetts is holding a special election primary to fill the Senate vacancy caused by Ted Kennedy’s passing. The final election will be held on December 15th. This is considered a big-ass election for obvious reasons and the peeps of Mass are being bombarded with campaign ads by the candidates.
I have to wonder if anyone else sees the lack of originality in the ads. The ads are void of any fresh content and the candidates’ messaging showing the perfect family with the perfect upbringing makes me want to gag. It always goes something like this:
- Dad was a <insert blue collar job here>
- Mom was a stay at home mother
- Went to an Ivy league school
- Video of Norman Rockwell Christmas with children dancing around the tree surrounded by “perfect” relatives
- Childhood photo of little boys in ties and girls in dresses and white gloves standing in front of church
The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as the perfect family. When I was a kid I used to think everyone else had the perfect family. As an adult, these friends have now shared their own stories about how screwed up their family was. One story that stands out is from a former teammate. I thought her family had it all — huge house, lots of money, country club membership, uber-athletic kids and more. A few years ago, my friend told me her family life was absolute hell. Her parents would get bombed every night and it wasn’t unusual for her mother to chase her father around the house with a knife trying to kill him. Fo’ shizz.
If the reality is that most American voters didn’t grow up with the perfect family, why don’t the candidates reveal their own imperfections? These ads would truly stand out. The messaging wouldn’t be overused and reheated and I believe people would respect their honesty and connect with them in a way they can’t today. Even better, what if they proactively disclosed everything that would be viewed as a “skeleton in their closet.” Now, there’s an ad that will keep voters from changing the channel!
Although I will never run for public office because the personal agendas would make me crazy, if I did, the content of my ad would be something like this:
- My parents were divorced. (50% of marriages end in divorce, so I’m thinkin’ this will resonate with voters)
- My Mom was a single working Mom long before it was commonplace.
- My Dad was an alcoholic and his alcoholism created a very chaotic home life. Note: He has been recovered for 25 years and I am so proud of him and love him immensely. (Over 9 million Americans are alcoholics and I bet 100+ million people who love them are affected by their drinking. This is yet another transparent opp to connect with voters.)
- I was sexually abused as a child by a really effed up uncle. (Statistics on sexual abuse vary, but a conservative numbers estimates 25% of children have been sexually abused. It is horrific and we should have a “one strike you’re out – life in prison” law.)
- I went to shitty state college. (There are only eight Ivy league schools and the overwhelming majority of Americans did not attend them.)
- Because I was a tomboy, any photos of me would probably show me in Sears Toughskin jeans holding a fishing pole….while climbing a tree ’cause my Mom was trying to drag me to church.
I have no skeletons in my closet because I never try to hide anything about me. The following things are often used by candidates to discredit a political rival, so I am and will always be upfront about them:
- I am gay and I am married — because in Massachusetts we believe in providing basic human rights to all our citizens. I know this attribute would make me unelectable in many parts of the country, but I would never try to hide who I am.
- In college I did a lot of drugs — I think the only things I didn’t do were crack and heroin and that’s because they really weren’t around.
While I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone, I wouldn’t change it and I am who I am because of it. I am resilient, compassionate and honest. I am the person you want by your side in the middle of a crisis. Why? Because I grew up in chaos, I am calm and level headed in the midst of it. I am always the defender of the underdog and will go toe-to-toe with any bully — without exception. Hell, I am not perfect and am far from it, but neither is the American voter.
I’m Kel Kelly and I approved this message.
Who would you rather vote for? Someone who is upfront and honest or someone who tries to spin the perfect background?