Monday, October 29, 2018


Arguably our major holidays are a conflation of pagan (peasant) rituals. Christmas is Chanukah just as Easter is Passover. The one being a festival of lights as days grow darker in the northern hemisphere and the other a version of spring renewal. Birth and resurrection or liberation, there isn’t a nobler cause for celebration. 

Soon the calendar says Halloween followed closely by Election Day. I sense a merging and I’m getting spooked. The ghost of Election Days past has got me. It all goes back to my first November voting experience at the wee age of three and a half. No, I didn’t run precociously for office on a platform of forgivable toilet training. Nor was I campaigning playpen to playpen. It was possibly my earliest memory, one which has stuck to my bones ever since.

Not knowing what else to do with me my mother took me along to vote. She then disappeared behind the green canvas curtain. Was it separation anxiety or chronic earache that caused me to start bawling? Or was I grieving for the plight of the nation? It was 1936. Perhaps I was weeping for the dust bowl, the breadlines and the rise of the Third Reich. Or maybe a leftover diaper pin was sticking me. I’m told I was a world class cry baby and still am albeit a bit more contained.

John Maynard Keynes put it this way: Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest men will do the most wickedest things for the greatest good of everyone. This could serve as the epithet for our Age of Trump. The man with sinister impulses, both vain and ignorant at once, is being offered as a referendum in absentia and still half of registered voters will probably sit it out. It is the ultimate trick or treat.

When I was a kid (older than 3 ½) Halloween was a time for colored chalk, a nickel mask and some semi-malicious mischief. We might move a garbage can onto the lawn or chalk a front door. Now that the beast has been uncaged by Donald we’ve had our fill of malice.

Costumes? Why not? As Woody Allen quipped, My only regret in life is that I’m not someone else. There are certain people in Congress I wish were someone else and for more than one night.

The Day of the Dead comes along with Halloween. It brings to mind all those candidates I voted for on past November Tuesdays and grieved over their defeat......Adlai Stevenson, Gene McCarthy, George McGovern. Comatose and nearly dead is our dysfunctional Senate where aged white men from 35% of the population decide our fate in complicity with a deranged executive.

May the first Tuesday of this November not be an extension of another horror movie. May we expiate our demons who sit in citadels of power. May their ghouls be un-chalked from the great ledger.


  1. Another excellent essay. I'm just crossing my fingers that the failure of Dodger Blue in in the World Series isn't a sign of what's going to happen to the so-called Blue Wave. Remember, in 2016 Nate Silver gave Trump the same chance the Cubs had to win the World Series ... 1 in 4 ... and look what happened. Perhaps, regardless of our thoughts about religion, we ought to start praying for Divine Intervention.

  2. Thanks, Stephanie, we seem to be on the same page.