This past Saturday, I took to the streets of San Francisco to collect signatures and garner support for the Darrel Issa California Election Omnipotence Bill (DICEOB). The following is an actual account of what happened:
2:15 p.m. — I’ve been walking around the Marina district for at least half an hour, and no signatures yet. Already I am weary of the public I am trying to sway — they’re much too liberal and closed minded. They are stuck in the past, in the bizarre and counter-productive ideas of free love and a governor who isn’t ripping California apart, piece by piece. Perhaps San Francisco isn’t the best place to springboard DICEOB.
2:17 — But wait! With a stroke of genius and ink, I duck into an upscale coffee shop and sign my own name on DICEOB, giving the petition its first signature. Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? People will be much easier to persuade once they see that I already have the ball rolling.
2:20 — A stroke of genius indeed! I get my second signature from a young man, Ben, who is very approachable. He doesn’t seem too eager to learn about the bill; he must have already recognized the wisdom of Rep. Issa. I like Ben, with his earring in each ear and sensible plain black shirt, upright stature and sandy blonde hair — he’ll be my contact in Healdsburg.
2:22–2:35 — Not much action. People seem very busy. I can’t help but wonder what could be more important than the overhaul of the California electoral system. But I’m not here to judge. I am here to rain the wisdom of Rep. Issa down onto the deteriorating self-governing spirit of the American people.
2:36 — I run into my mother on her way back from a haircut. I refrain from hugging her; I want to come across as all business. After much pleading, I get her to sign. This is the third signature I have collected so far, including my own. Frustrated with the fast-paced lifestyle of those who have been wandering to and fro on Union Street, I convince my mom to give me a lift to Laurel Village, a small shopping neighborhood between the Richmond and Presidio Heights.
2:50 — I find a nice place to stand, in the shade on California at Locust, between Gap Kids and Bryan’s Meats. I notice a difference immediately in the social climate. People have begun to approach me. I speak with a middle-aged man wearing a teal Elroy (Jetson) shirt, who thinks that no one person should be given so much power. Remembering that compromise is the essence of change, I offer to change the bill so that William Issa will be able to check Darrell Issa’s power in some way, but Elroy doesn’t buy it. He wants more, but how much can I give? I also speak with a kind, quiet-spoken Scottish family, and one man who insists that he take a written copy of DICEOB to show his co-workers — the word of Rep. Issa shall be heard!
2:59 — I decide to switch from saying “Would you like to sign my petition?” to “Would you like to sign a petition?”
3:01 — I switch back.
3:04 — A goateed man in his late twenties informs me that he’s “not down with” my proposal, then chuckles with his two friends as he walks away, making extravagant hand motions which are likely meant to mock me. I pity him. His generation was lost long ago, killed off by a beautiful pipe dream called Lamar Alexander.
3:08 — A woman refuses to sign the petition after hearing that it concerns Rep. Issa, claiming that she has already “signed them both.” I infer from this that the woman has signed both the petition to recall Governer Davis, as well as that to stop the recall. A harrowing encounter, but I pass her off as an anomaly.
3:12 — I acquire my fourth signature from a kind young woman with a baby, who happily stands in the shade with me for a moment. She informs me that she supports any measure which will result in someone assuming “some kind of responsibility.” While I don’t agree with the un-specificity of her desire, I can see in her eyes that she will fight for Rep. Issa until the end.
3:13 — I am informed of Rep. Issa’s status as a “real creep” by a middle-aged man in khakis and a polo shirt. This is precisely the type of person from whom DICEOB is trying to remove power. This type of man cannot be trusted with picking those who would lead him. I would be upset by the encounter, if I didn’t feel such sadness for him.
3:36 — A man tells me he wants “the Terminator guy” to be governor, then begins talking about state politics. I am trying to listen to him, but he is not interesting. I respond to whatever he said by saying, “Darrell Issa is the wave of the future.” The man doesn’t sign, but recognizes that DICEOB is “food for thought.” That’s okay, I figure. I don’t need to convert all the disbelievers today. I need only to plant the seeds.
3:45 — I call my friend Bill, who was politically active in high school and lives nearby, in hopes that he will be able to help me garner support for DICEOB.
3:47 — Scared that I might not be aggressive enough, I try new variations: “I need you to sign my petition,” I say. I also try simply, “Sign my petition.” Both seem to attract people’s attention, and yet no one wants to sign. What are they afraid of? Change? Progress? I am losing hope.
4:12 — Bill finally arrives, wearing a tuxedo and sombrero, and playing the guitar. “Play patriotic but realistic songs,” I suggest. His performance doesn’t seem to help. I quit for the day shortly after. I am home by the time I realize that I’ve forgotten to tell Bill. It will take him hours to figure out I’m gone.
While it was not a banner day, I have done my part. I have begun to spread the word, to crack the steadfast resolve of an uninformed, seemingly masochistic far-left public. But now it is up to you. Join Ben Symons, Najsar Suidi (I think that’s her name; it was hard to read her signature), my mother and me, and prevent the electorate from ever making another mistake. Help this tremor become an earthquake.
If you would like to sign up, or help DICEOB in any way, please write to
San Francisco, CA 94110
Please include your name and address.