Well here we are knee-deep into November and that luckily means we are finally over and done with Halloween and the Election… I’m not sure which was scarier this year. You see, my new neighborhood treats Halloween as seriously as the election with various streets closed off for trick ‘r’ treaters to safely wander from one insanely extravagant over-the-top haunted house/spooky graveyard front yard display to another. Not knowing what to expect, our house looked a little sad with a few black zombie lawn flamingos attacking a traditional pink one, a happy black cat caricature with a jolly pumpkin and some droopy spider-filled white webs flung onto the entry way walls and hedges.
I guess we were not too much of a pariah because parents still let their costumed kids bang on our door and demand our teeth-rotting candy but it makes me wonder what Christmas season will be like around here and if I should have gotten those solar panels installed sooner to offset the cost of the daylight creating glow of lights I might need to hang up in order to fit in around here. I wonder if they make a 40 foot tall blue inflatable menorah with candles that wiggle like those tall blow-up flippity-armed floppy guys they slap in front of a gas station grand opening or car lot sale?
I was not going to buy any new decorations too early though; with all the doom and gloom being spewed during this election season I was not sure if the country would survive to the holiday season. Luckily the two presidential candidates were both wrong about the immediate post-election apocalypse they predicted if their opponent won. Aside from the quick stock market knee-jerk swing that briefly made my retirement investments look like I was spending my golden years in a refrigerator box under a bridge, the world looks pretty much the same as it did last week. I guess the two notable exceptions are that there is suddenly less slanderous venom in the social media universe and most of the advertising I now see is back to pushing unhealthy fast food and calorie laden drinks with no ad ending legal disclaimers telling me who is paying to brainwash my appetite.
As a matter of fact, contrary to what I have been hearing for the past 16 months, since the election the sun has still been rising every morning, the neighborhood house values did not plummet due to a mass U.S. exodus, I have not seen any wall construction signs popping up on the border and no States have seceded from the union. I guess I won’t be able to cash in with my get rich scheme of driving rented U-Hauls backs from Canada.
So now, like the Cubs and Cleveland World Series, the election is all over with a winner, a loser and happy fans of one and distraught supporters of the other left wondering what if. But unlike the baseball celebratory euphoria still churning up in Chicago (there has barely been another record breaking murder in the news since the Cubs’ victory), even the winning party’s rank and file does not seem all that happy. It looks more like the emotions after someone puts down an aged beloved pet to end their pain and misery. Like they know they did the right thing but they are not happy about it.
Most folks I know, both Ass and Pachyderm, were voting against someone verses for someone. When you are basing your choice on the lesser of two evils you end up not really believing the promises either made. Like an unhappy addict who wakes up in the morning and for the millionth time says ‘this is the day I stop’ just hours before the inevitable relapse. The losers too, seem more upset that he won verses then that she lost. But am I being naïve and this is what politics ‘is’ always like and ‘has’ always been. I don’t ever recall in my lifetime ever experiencing a near universal real excitement about a candidate. Is it always a hard fought battle and the winner is just the less damaged liar who lost by a smaller amount?
The first presidential election I truly remember was the 1972 McGovern vs. Nixon battle and back then there was enough anger and distrust about the direction of the country that clue-less little elementary school-aged Dan even understood people were not happy. Although really my true first taste of presidential politics was a few years even before that, when I repeatedly listened to my hand-me-down children’s 45rpm record featuring 1964 presidential campaign election song for Yogi Bear on one side and Magilla Gorilla on the other. Personally I was more pro Yogi although Magilla did have charm and appeal. Face it, the V.P. does not often swing a vote but who does not love Boo-Boo Bear? I still do have that record and yes, even though both are fictitious mostly forgotten cartoon characters, I think both would have been infinitely more popular candidates this year than Don and Hil.
For many years while I was growing up, my Mom volunteered at the political party headquarters she supported, which also happened to be the opposite of the one my Dad was for. I don’t recall any major angry political debates over the dinner table but you would have to consult with my older siblings about that. I was obliviously young back then and in those days my biggest concern at supper was not getting caught slipping food I did not like to the dog or flicking my peas across the table at my sister. I have to assume it was like everything else in the house, Dad loudly preached to Mom and likely loudly told her what she should do, and then later she just went ahead and did what she wanted.
I always knew when it was election day because Mom worked at the polls during elections in our local elementary school gymnasium/ lunch room so dinner that day was never the usual family around the table affair. About a week before election days they dropped off a bunch of those big green curtained voting booths and rolled them all into a corner of the large room. We were all lectured not to go near them, but we always snuck over and played with the knobs and flipped the switches. Talk about early election voting; that might explain the whole Nixon /McGovern results.
As for this year, I’m hoping for a jolly holiday season in my new neighborhood to take my mind off politics. If that does not work I might break out my old kiddie records and relive my childhood a little bit listening to Yogi Bear For President. I truly liked him and his pic-a-nic-basket platform; it was not just a vote against Magilla.