Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

The frost is on the pumpkin. A chill is in the air. And everywhere you go, you can feel the buzz of excitement. That can mean only one thing: it’s Election Day.

The Election decorations have been up for weeks. It seems like every other lawn has a decorative sign. And many street corners and boulevards are festooned with different placards and posters creating a delightful rainbow of seasonal colors.

Turn on the radio or the TV and you’ll be serenaded with Election messages and songs. Whether it’s one candidate touting his new healthcare plan or another candidate questioning the moral fitness of his opponent, the airwaves are filled with the sounds of the Electoral season.

But one thing you won’t see during this festive time are ads urging you to buy gifts for friends, relatives and co-workers. That’s because Election Day is not about buying presents and spending money. Rather, it’s about spending time with your family in celebration of the greatest gift of all: a ballot.

Of all the holidays in the year, my favorite has to be Election Day. In contrast to celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, Election Day has not been commercialized. After all these years, it still actually means something.

Of course, every family has its own traditions when it comes to this special holiday. Some like to gather in the morning, exchange last minute suggestions and then head out to the polls. Others prefer to get together for a simple Election Day dinner and then cast their ballots. Still others like to engage in the longstanding tradition of abstaining.

But no matter how you and yours exercise your franchise, just about everyone celebrates Election Night the same way. We all gather around the television set and watch as the millions and millions of votes are counted from every state in the union.

It’s always fun to watch the children on Election Night as they struggle to stay awake for the final results. Their little eyes open wide with amazement as the states on the electoral map are colored in red and blue from one coast to the other. But most of them eventually fall asleep and have to wait to the next day to find out who won.

It’s a magical time of year. People gathering to support their favorite candidate and sharing misconceptions and sleights about his opponent. Citizens congregating in bars and taverns to insult and denigrate one another’s positions. And finally, there is the long-anticipated vote, the day when as many as half of these people will actually cast a ballot based on platforms, personalities or maybe just hearsay and innuendo.

Whatever the outcome, it’s always heartwarming to see the celebration. Even if, in the end, nothing much really changes, it’s nice to see people coming together and sharing in this ill-informed public conversation if only for a few short months. In the spirit of the season, I wish one and all a Happy Election Day.

No comments: