Mail-in ballot, Christmas creep provide object lesson

I just received my mail-in ballot. I didn’t know there were 16 candidates for president, four of them from Socialist parties – I guess five if you count the Democrats. Anyway, the choice that surprised me most was the “Objectivist Party.” I’ve never heard that party’s commercials, but wouldn’t it be cool if at the end of the ads the candidates say, “Your honor, I object to this message.” And shouldn’t Objectivist names on the ballot be “Sustained” and “Overruled?” – David W. Brown

The jury has reached a decision, and it’s a split verdict.

On the first count, Action Line finds in favor of the idea that all candidates, not just those from the Objectivist Party, should be required to say, “I object to this message.”

After all, has the “I approve” utterance made campaigns any more civil or respectful?

We’re still besieged by ads that claim so-and-so eats babies, recruits for the Taliban and wants to set senior citizens outside on frigid winter nights.

The “I approve” interjection has been a federal requirement since 2002, when Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and its “Stand By Your Ad” provision that makes candidates acknowledge radio and TV pitches.

But campaigning has gotten so out of hand, we should now insist political hopefuls admit even they object to their own messages.

Now for judgment on the second count. Action Line will remand your inquiry, as the Objectivist political movement is not what you think.

The Objectivist Party is not a party of naysayers “objecting” to the status quo, although it has a broad critique of national policy.

The Objectivist Party was formed in 2008 on Feb. 2, the birthday of Ayn Rand. The party seeks to promote Rand’s philosophy of objectivism in the political realm.

In her book Atlas Shrugged, she wrote: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Google “objectivism” if you want to know more. You can also visit for info on the political group.

Court dismissed.

You gotta be kidding. We were at Home Depot last week, and they had already put up Christmas decorations and fake trees for sale. What’s up with that? It’s not even Halloween! – Appalled

It’s called “Christmas creep.” And just for the record, Christmas creep is not that smelly old man who loiters in the mall watching kids get their photos taken on Santa’s lap.

Christmas creep is when retailers continue moving up the start of holiday-themed shopping.

Like you, Action Line was aghast. So was Mrs. Action Line, who just wanted a Makita grinding disk and not a plastic wreath with flashing lights.

So who’s to blame for Christmas creep? Simple. It’s the public. If there were no demand for yuletide bric-a-brac in October, no retailer would display it.

A couple years ago, the National Retail Federation trade group said that 40 percent of consumers planned to start their holiday shopping before Halloween. Stores are merely responding to demand.

Does that hold true locally? Action Line asked two nice young men in orange aprons about their store’s premature promotion. Obviously, they didn’t want to be identified.

“We put out the Christmas stuff last Wednesday, and we’ve had to restock it twice already,” said one Home Depot associate. “People either really like it or they complain it’s way too early,” added his colleague.

It looks like Christmas creep is here to stay.

So let Action Line and Mrs. Action be the first to wish you and yours the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years.

And for the trick-or-treaters, we’ll bring you a figgy pudding as you go a-wassailing next Wednesday night.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if can just put the “no” in noel, at least until late November.

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