When state elections are held this fall, Gov. William Donald Schaefer wants Maryland residents to do more than just vote.
He wants them to vote for him. Then turn out the lights, turn off the shower, pick up trash, teach someone to read, switch to cloth diapers, and water down the drinks at their next party.
If it sounds like a tall order from the state's chief cheerleader and public nag, Schaefer's staff said he has set high expectations for his so-called Campaign for Maryland, the reelection drive disguised as a new volunteer program.
In designing how best to send him back for a second term, Schaefer told aides he wanted something different -- and more positive -- than a run-of-the-mill reelection effort, according to campaign spokesman Ricki Baker.
So they took the best of self-promotional politics and married that with an ambitious civic program to encourage volunteerism in the areas of environmental protection, drug abuse and education.
Along with hiring a coordinator to marshal the troops, the Campaign for Maryland has printed thousands of brochures giving Marylanders a step-by-step guide to Utopia in the Free State.
There is an ample dose of campaign advertising in the pamphlets: Each begins with a list of the good things Schaefer takes credit for in his first four years as governor.
There is also a sprinkling of other public officials' sympathetic quotes, ranging in tone from the nostalgic to the ominous.
"I remember the days when there were so many oysters and crabs in the Bay that we ate them three times a day!" recalls veteran Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein.
"Littering not only hurts the environment, it's against the law," Prince George's County State's Attorney Alex Williams warns on the next page.
Then comes the list of suggestions, some old, some new, some simple, some ambitious; combined, it's enough to keep even the most eager beaver busy.
For those who care about Earth first, Schaefer lists 11 Do It Now commandments. Use a broom, for example, instead of the hose to clean a driveway to reduce the runoff of debris; feed the birds in winter (Schaefer recommends a pine cone stuffed with peanut butter); and, for human animals, use cloth diapers as a way to save trees.
Make sure to wash and reuse plastic bags, and use energy efficient light bulbs. Better yet, turn out the lights altogether.
Take used antifreeze to a state disposal site, and don't discard used car batteries -- recycle them.
If you pack your lunch, create a chlorofluorocarbon-free workplace by taking a mug and silverware to work.
And of course: "PICK UP TRASH WHENEVER OR WHEREVER YOU SEE IT!" Remember, it's the law.
In the war on drugs and alcohol, Schaefer's first commandment is: Snitch.
"Report suspected drug activity to your local police immediately," the governor counsels, and join a community watch group.
For those with a more symbolic commitment, he suggests a red ribbon on the car door as a sign of support for efforts to clear the roads of drunk and drugged drivers.
Schaefer also recommends frank discussions with children about peer pressure to discourage the use of drugs and alcohol.
And he urges the use of peer pressure by adults to encourage designated drivers.
If that doesn't work, he says, grab the car keys and call a cab.
And if drug and alcohol laws don't seem to be doing the job, he says, Marylanders should write their state legislators to advocate tougher ones.
Finally, the teetotaling Schaefer -- the strongest thing he takes is black coffee -- recommends that party-givers offer alochol-free mocktails, "as tasty and as exotic as any drink you'll find in a bar."
For recipes, call the Baltimore County Office of Substance Abuse at (301) 887-3828.
In the education arena, Schaefer wants residents to write their own stories, quiz children daily on things they've learned, give books to the schools, swap books with friends who can read and promote literacy programs among those who can't. Tape-recorded readings, he said, would be welcomed by the sick and blind.
Extra cash can go into savings bonds for college, extra room in the house can be offered to visiting students, and extra time can be spent in a museum or library.
"Have dinner with your family and talk," Schaefer exhorts. Maybe about the election?