Reflections from Connecticut: Dear Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon
c/o World Wrestling Entertainment
1241 East Main Street
Stamford, CT 06902

November 7, 2012

Dear Linda:

If I’d left a good job to chase a pipe dream for a few years, the first thing I’d probably do after the whole thing tanked would be to drop by my old break room with a Box o’Joe, some Munchkins, and a little bit of humility. So I hope this is the address where a letter will find you the fastest.

The first phone call I distinctly remember receiving from your Senatorial campaign was about eighteen months ago, after you lost the first time. I live in a household of registered independents who lean in dramatically different directions, and pollsters basically play a game of chance when they call here. Anyway, I talked to your representative for about half an hour. I told him I didn’t and wouldn’t vote for you for U.S. Senate, and he immediately assumed it was because I don’t like professional wrestling. “Well, no,” I said. “Professional wrestling makes for some excellent jokes, but it’s because I don’t like trickle-down economics and I don’t think CEO-as-public-servant models work most of the time. Also, Linda McMahon has no career in public service, and she appears to think that having campaign funds lets her cut in line.”

I’ve lived here for a while now, Linda. If there’s one thing that unifies everyone in Connecticut, it’s not liberal values or Barack Obama. It’s hatred for people who cut in line.

Cutting in line happens in Connecticut, sure. But outside of maybe the Gold Coast towns?  It’s all about execution. We don’t just cut in line at the grocery store, waving our wallets in the air while everyone watches. That’s a great way to get out to the parking lot and find our tires slashed. Instead, we seethe and mumble. Or we go to the service desk with questions, and then they ring us up there. If you don’t understand how all of that works, Linda, I’m guessing that driving in Connecticut is also completely beyond you…and that’s just terrifying.

But based on what followed? I’m fairly sure your representative wrote down “Independent voter hates professional wrestling” that day.

As I mentioned, I live in an officially independent but still somewhat bipartisan household. My husband and I have a daughter in middle school, and we’re really careful about not entering into a
Palpatine/Kenobi/Skywalker sort of thing with her. (Ask your kids if that doesn’t make sense to you, they’ll be able to explain.) One of my daughter’s chores is to bring in the mail every day. About four months ago, she asked us if she could draw on campaign flyers. What I noticed almost immediately was that she only drew horns, moustaches and word balloons on candidates that were particularly vicious to other candidates. That meant she mostly drew on you.

My daughter didn’t ask about Obama or Romney’s election results this morning. She asked about you, though.

Your flyers were not only malicious, they were constant. I’ve worked enough in marketing to know roughly how much a piece of individual direct mail costs to produce. I get annoyed at my collegiate alma mater sometimes for similar reasons. Why did they pay for a glossy finish to tell me about an alumni happy hour when that money could have cleared a student’s tab at the bookstore? Naïve, I know, but that knowledge never stops me from thinking it. Some of the mail we received from you was pretty spectacular wallet-waving.

And dear lord, the phone calls.  Since the beginning, I have said the following to all of your campaigners: “Everyone in this house has made their decision about who to vote for. You do not need to call here again. It is a waste of everyone’s time and resources.”  This altered absolutely nothing. I’d say we averaged once or twice weekly phone calls from you all summer, and every other day this fall. We got four phone calls from your campaign this past Sunday. We got a robocall from your campaign yesterday, after everyone had already voted. If you wanted me to believe in your CEO-as-public-servant model, that unwillingness to listen to customers – especially one who had talked to you for half an hour! — didn’t generate confidence in your business abilities. And judging from the Last Five Minutes of A Lifetime Movie Where the Stalker Has Finally Been Stopped type comments I’ve seen on Connecticut newspaper websites since the
election, about your campaign? I’m far from alone in feeling that way.

As for TV commercials…I mostly watch Hulu, Netflix, and basic cable. I’m told I dodged a giant bullet there.

So here we are, $47 million (this time) and slashed tires in the parking lot. I’m guessing you probably feel like hell. Maybe you realize that proving you care about the middle class means having to be around us a lot, and running for local office first could have made that happen. Maybe you feel bad about dredging up Chris Murphy’s mortgage sweetheart deal, when you likely get unreported actual sweetheart deals regularly. Maybe you realize your vague job creation
ideas were unhelpful to a fairly large percentage of Connecticut’s unemployed. Maybe you’re trying not to think about the time someone asked you how a bill is introduced on the Senate floor and you didn’t really seem to know. Or that Anil Dash was right when he said on Twitter last night that your campaign warchests could have provided a $1000 scholarship for almost every Connecticut college student…and that maybe it would have been better spent that way.

Maybe you’re sick of your mail, phone calls, and commercials, too.

My advice, which I hope you truly consider this time around: Spend today walking around at WWE, with a box of Munchkins. Return to the good graces of people who liked you years ago, before all of this insanity began. Get in touch with me this spring – but please, don’t ever call or send mail to my house again. We’ll go grocery shopping, or something.

All best,
Erin Fitzgerald (I, New Milford)


Erin Fitzgerald‘s work has appeared in many literary magazines and on many Do Not Call lists. You can find her here.

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