The upcoming election has invaded the lives of Americans through several different mediums. I cannot watch TV or a video on Youtube or Hulu without seeing President Obama or Mitt Romney endorsing themselves or discrediting their opponent. Not even greeting cards are safe from political messages. According to Billy Hallowell of The Blaze, the Hallmark greeting card company “is facing calls for a boycott from some frustrated Conservatives.” Lennie Jarrett of Grayslake, Ill. and founder of the Lake County Tea Party was shopping for a graduation card with her kids when they found one with Obama on the cover. On the front, it said, “You’ve graduated! Time to go to a lot of parties!” The inside read, “But avoid those tea parties if you can. Trust me.” According to Halloway’s article, Jarrett is looking for an apology from the Hallmark Company.
Jarrett’s reaction is completely ridiculous. He is getting upset over someone voicing a political opinion that is different than his. People, whether they are politicians or the average Joe, have been talking about political views throughout the campaign, before the campaign and will continue to afterward. Chances are that some of that talk will be about views the Tea Party does not agree with. Hallmark does not need to give him an apology. Jarrett just needs to calm down and move on.
Since the election is less than three weeks away, I had no doubt that if there was an Obama greeting card, the whole Hallmark store would be covered in politically themed cards. Perhaps there would be an entire section devoted to them. I visited the Hallmark store at Westshore Mall and browsed the sections. I was greeted by 50 percent off Halloween decorations and figurines and at least a third of the store decked out with Christmas merchandise. After searching the rows of cards, I did not find a “Democrat,” “Republican” or even a broad “Political” card section. I did manage to find a few cards underneath the “Newest From Shoebox” section that had some political messages. Maxine, an aged woman with attitude who has been on hundreds of Hallmark cards, had cards with messages such as, “Spending is down for the fourth year in a row, and I’m just talking about what I spend on presents,” and “For too many years, this country has been like my boobs—headin’ in the wrong direction. Have an uplifting birthday.”
There were a few cards in the store and on Hallmark.com that had Obama, Romney and other famous political figures on them. One card had Obama and Romney shaking hands and read, “Finally! Something Democrats and Republicans can agree on! You’re getting pretty damn old.” Another had Romney on the front and read, “Another birthday, and you still look like a million bucks. Trust me. I know what a million bucks looks like.” One had Obama and Joe Biden on the front where Obama said, “It’s your birthday! Raise the taxes—I mean, the roof!” Biden replied, “Don’t worry, I don’t think anybody heard.”
There were cards that made fun of both sides and some, such as the Maxine cards, just used politics to crack a joke. More importantly, there were fewer cards than I thought there would be. One can assume that either Jarrett scared Hallmark enough for the card company to pull most of the political cards or the political cards are selling well and the ones I found were the only ones left. I am going with option C and saying that these cards were not very popular. I can see why Hallmark has political cards. The election is like a holiday and Hallmark sells cards for all different holidays and occasions. I do not blame them for wanting to make a quick buck on the election. But with political messages on TV, online and on billboards, do you really want to send your loved one another anti-Obama or anti-Romney ad? Plus, Election Day falls in between holiday juggernauts Halloween and Christmas. Political cards probably get buried under the orange of Halloween and the red and green of Christmas. I am glad I could only find a few political cards from Hallmark. The election has voters tense and exhausted, which probably explains Jarrett’s outburst. Frankly, I am looking forward to Election Day so I do not have to be bombarded by political ads furthermore.
Jake Koniszewski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org