A costume party and a party in costume


Just one more day before the election; by tomorrow at this time it will be over, that except the post-election coverage, but even that will end at some point.  And then we will get a rest from the name-calling and predictions of doom if the wrong people and party are elected.   Halloween too is passed, now we can start to gear up for turkey and the onslaught of retail mania that is the Christmas shopping season.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a media holiday season?  Maybe a month or two went we would not be subject to the noise of selling – okay, it is not realistic the very foundation of our culture is consumer spending. But at least we get a rest from campaigning and some very ill-fitting costumes.

But before I bid good-bye to Halloween and the election, I have one more comparison to make – between Halloween, politicians and the wearing of costumes.  Last night I got dozens and dozens of trick or treaters, nearly a hundred, came to my house to frighten me into giving them candy or other treats.  I try to make my house just a little scary in return for the treats.  The oldest trick or treaters I saw this year were high school students, refusing to let go of their childhood and the fun of dressing up and getting bags of candy, but they were a minority and in their own way charming and cute.  The rest were children, with a parent or two standing on the sidewalk, encouraging the children to knock, say trick or treat and thank you – as they left everyone, the children, the parents and I exchanged warm and friendly wishes for a happy halloween. All-in-all, Halloween is a better spirited holiday for me than any of the others and in general I think we all behave better than we do on other major holidays.

The costumes the children wore were mostly very cute, funny if somewhat mis-fitted and awkwardly worn.  The children made no pretense to be the character represented by the costume, they were simply themselves, the youngest just a little nervous to be speaking to strangers, but very pleased with the reward granted to the effort.

There have been other costumed people out and about for several months now, politicians running for office.  However,  unlike the children, the politicians try to act out the character of their costumes – costumes of a party and of the ideas they think will win the largest number of votes.  For the most part,  I don’t accept them at their – and no matter how hard the try, how much they act the role and spew out the words their metaphoric mothers standing off camera urge on them,  I don’t believe that they believe their own words or their own act. It is just a used car salesman’s pitch, subject to change with any change in the winds of public opinion.

The children are so pure, the costumes are just clothes to them, not personalities, characteristics or beliefs; they have fun dressing up, getting their pictures taken and eating candy – but they don’t believe or except anyone else to believe they are anyone but themselves.  The politicians could rarely be called pure and the harder they work to convince me that they are the person of their costume the less I believe it.  I know that when the gallop polls indicate the majority of Americans have changed their opinions and now believe….. fill in the blank that people running for office will suddenly think the same thing.  I really like Halloween, but I am beginning to really dislike the political version, the election campaigns.

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