It’s scary season! The doorbell rings, and it’s another zombie or pumpkinhead or witch begging for something sweet. No, I’m not talking about Halloween, I’m talking about the scary thing that comes after it – the election.
If you ever doubted our Founding Fathers had a sense of humor, keep in mind how that Election Day is right after Samhain, the Celtic festival when the land of the dead comes the closest to our mortal plain. Is it possible that they wouldn’t mind votes coming from graveyards?
Like Halloween, an election is nothing if you can’t make fun of it. Don’t be scared, join in the fun! There are many ways to do it.
Just before any election there is a flurry of activity as each side tries to get its last hits in. I seriously doubt this changes anyone’s mind but it does do something very important for the people who are “into it” – it keeps them bizzy. All summer long many of them have been working hard to get their candidate a win and now there’s only so much time left. The adrenaline is running hard and the excitement overwhelms them.
That’s not to say that there isn’t something very important on Election Day itself, which is Get Out the Vote (GOTV). It may seem very annoying to get so many calls and perhaps even a knock on your door telling you to vote, but it’s the most powerful tool that Democrats have. It’s a simple process. You can’t find out how the vote totals are going in any precinct, but if you vote there you can see on the counters how many total people have voted. If you’ve done your identification and historical research well you’ll know which precincts you need good turnout in if your side will take it – so if your best places seem to be slacking off you go forth and whip ‘em into shape.
If that’s not your cup of tea this year, the local Tea Party is offering a $500 bounty for any evidence of voter fraud. Some Democrats think this is disgusting and an obvious attempt at voter intimidation, but I don’t. Our local righties have been complaining of voter fraud for years despite the fact that study after study has found that there is no evidence that there is a problem. I think that the more we can publicize this cash reward up front the more we can point to its subsequent failure to uncover anything as even more proof that they’re barking up a very dead tree with nothing in it.
At the end of it all, however, Election Day isn’t such a scary thing. It’s a universal truth, a simple ritual that is essential to a Democratic Republic. Our vision of Halloween comes from where the Aztec rituals crossed the Celtic rituals in Tejas a long time ago, and the two cultures realized that they had a lot in common. We went with the carnival and kids games, but Mexico went somewhere else with it– Día de los Muertos. There, you pay homage to your ancestors at the ofrenda not out of fear, but out of love. They are still with you, after all.
Election Day is not a scary thing after all. What makes it seem scary at times is too much belief in our own cartoon visions of our life, the cardboard cutout issues that even a child can see aren’t real. When you step up to that ballot box, think of it as the shrine to our ancestors. It’s a much healthier view of our simple obligations in the spooky season.