Saturday, October 18, 2008

Election Season

Ray Bradbury described the approach of Christmas, the making of fruitcake, in a beautiful short story, recounting the smell and feel of that season. Every four years we experience a season that has peculiar sensations, smells and feels.

It has the best and the worst, the homey and brave, and the icy and bully, a vision of hope, and a vision of fear, all at the same time.

When did politics become such a dividing rod? The New Yorker related how people as late as the 1800's had to obtain and carry their own ballots to the polls, and on the way to the polling places they were mugged, lost the ballots, or worse. Voting has never been a friendly activity.

We tell a lot about ourselves by the people we choose to support in leadership roles. What is best and worst in human nature comes out during election season. We tend to choose with our gut feeling, a primitive brain that had to be ready to flee or fight, eat or be eaten.

Our little town of 1000+ residents has a pretty good cooperative spirit most of the time. But, lately, it is divided and conflicted, recalling city councilors and badmouthing a whole lot of issues. We've seen these things before, and they do not end up well.

No wonder then, that the attacks and counterattacks are getting ugly. The spirit of election time brings out the competitive spirit in most people, and differences are shouted and emphasized to the detriment of cooperation and team spirit.

Too bad. Shouting and hollering prevent planning and reflecting and visualizing how the future will look for our children and grandchildren. All our children will remember of election season is its ugliness and a bad taste.

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