LAWRENCE, KSMore than 3,000 U.S. citizens have banded together to form a massive special disinterest group, Coalition Of Unconcerned Americans press secretary Sarah Fisher said Tuesday.
"Politicians are completely out of touch with those Americans who are completely out of touch with politics," Fisher said. "Why is Congress always debating foreign policy and tariffs and social security and stuff? How can they claim to represent the views of the people when the people don't know anything about all that legislative nonsense? The CUA represents the views and beliefs of those Americans who care the least."
The CUA was formed by Mark Berger and Sofia Richardson, two similarly non-civic-minded Wilmington, DE, residents whose paths crossed on Feb. 3, when they both did not vote in their state's primary.
"Some of my friends were going to vote in the election, but I didn't really care about it enough to go," Berger said. "I was sorta like, 'What's it matter?' If I'd have gone to vote that day, I never would've run into Sofia at the Starbucks, and we never would've started this massive apolitical movement. Who says that two people can't make an indifference?"
The CUA is one of the nation's many political action committees, which have become increasingly influential in American politics. The CUA agenda includes plans to conduct its own "mock the vote" campaign via voter-resignation drives and indirect-mail campaigns.
"We've been doing canvassing and mailings to get our non-message out there," said Wendy Christianson, director of public outreach for the CUA. "We need to tap the huge wellspring of apathy that exists today. There are a lot of political inactivists who aren't being heard."
Christianson said that, as the presidential election heats up, the CUA's work will become even more vital.
"Even the most unconcerned citizens run the risk of getting caught up in all the debates, statistics, and news stories surrounding the election season," she said. "We want to remind the apathetic people that no matter which candidate is elected, he's just going to head to Washington and flap his gums about the government."
The CUA's first mailer is emblazoned with the group's current slogan: "Four more years of... politics?" The flyer features a graph illustrating each candidate's record of attention to political issues ranging from tax reform to national security. The initial test mailing, sent to more than 100,000 likely non-voters in Kansas last week, is otherwise devoted to a crossword puzzle, pasta-salad recipes, and a "How many rabbits can you find in this picture?" game.
The CUA will begin airing a series of ads in uncontested, non-battleground states in April. The ads are slated to highlight non-issues such as the outcome of the NCAA playoffs and the new summer line at Old Navy. While issue advertising is regulated under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, chief legal counsel for the CUA Terry Frank said that non-issue ads are not.
"The ads are totally acceptable under the rules set forth for campaign ads by the Federal Elections Commission," Frank said. "Some might try to accuse the CUA of exerting undue non-influence on the political process, or of misleading non-voters. But, really, who's gonna care?"
According to preliminary polling conducted by the CUA, the 108th Congress is vastly out of step with the American people. In a telephone poll, the CUA asked randomly selected citizens to list their most pressing goals. Of the top four, only one, "finding a job," was discussed in Congress this session. The other three"getting something to eat," "finding something to do," and "maybe hanging out"have all been ignored by Washington lawmakers.
The CUA is urging its supporters to contact their representatives and voice their lack of concern.
"Write to or visit your elected representatives and talk about something other than politics," said Ted Delancey, director of constituent activities for the CUA. "It's time they heard what kinda sorta almost matters to their constituency, like the latest Scott Peterson trial news or predictions for the season finale of The Apprentice."