Sherman Says: Watering your lawn is similar to running a political campaign
I have two functioning, oscillating sprinklers that do an effective job. I used to have one of those “impulse” sprinklers that looks and sounds like a machine gun, but somehow I broke it. Now it reaches only half the swath it should, while making that chattering, suburban summer sound.
I think that watering a lawn is very similar to running a large-scale political campaign. Consider your front lawn, one of the primary elements of your home’s curb appeal. Politicians’ lawns are their nations, districts, towns or villages.
You will likely water the driest areas first. Brown spots on your lawn get immediate attention because they are the areas in the most danger of drying up and becoming an eyesore. Likewise, political operatives pinpoint areas in which they can pick up new support, while not ignoring the lush areas they know are securely on their side.
Irrigate means to make moist or vital. No matter what the weather forecast is between now and Nov. 6, there should be plenty of irrigating going on. How the watering is done is “mission critical.”
Back in the day, our grandfathers stood on the sidewalk and splattered water out of cone-shaped nozzles. But the pattern was irregular, creating a great deal of uncertainty over the results.
Enter the rotary sprinkler. The one I remember had three arms set at an angle. When you turned on the water, they began spinning like a windmill. Despite the furious action, there was little control over the distribution.
Around the same time that the oscillating sprinkler came along, someone created the soaker hose. Wide and flat, it was punctuated with perforations that spouted water straight up in the air. It was most effective in small, defined areas like the narrow paths between rows of corn. It was worthless for covering an entire lawn.
Someone with an agricultural inclination invented a rotary sprinkler that looked like a farm tractor. It used the hose as a track and slowly followed the route back to the faucet.
If you have chosen the appropriate device with which to water your lawn, you can stand back as dusk falls and watch water nurture your investment. You can enjoy a feeling of satisfaction with the results as the green, healthy display proves you have done well.
Political operatives are uncoiling hoses from Maine to California and from Akron to East Aurora. They will choose their delivery devices carefully during the next four months, saturating their target audiences with print advertising, direct mail, television, radio and Web-based spots.
Candidates in the most local races should not select the rotary-style approach, as a significant portion of the message they send out will be wasted and fall outside their turf. They might be wise to opt for a nozzle with varying patterns of spray, so that they are on-target and direct. They should be close enough to see each drop of water play off the individual blades of grass.
That’s where our politicians need to be. They need to understand that a one-on-one relationship with voters is better than drowning them in glossy rhetoric like an ant trapped under a soaker hose. Granted, today’s mass marketing approaches are more effective because of the number of constituents at hand. But there’s something enjoyable about being caught in the spray as you fine-tune your sprinkler to hit that one area needing special attention.
When the sun goes down on the 2012 political races, those who splashed in the most puddles and got the most water down their backs will be the victors.
David F. Sherman is managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York. Opinions expressed are those of the author, who can be reached at email@example.com.