07 November 2012

a non-political post {mostly}

Campaign signs the day after an election are like pumpkins the day after Thanksgiving: they look out of place.

The season has past, but there they remain, reminders of what came before, even as the world pushes on to the Next Big Thing.

In the case of Thanksgiving, it's Christmas, although let's face it, stores start putting out their Christmas decorations in what, October? I was at Hobby Lobby over the weekend, and all of their fall decorations were 50% off, as if the crispness was already out of the air and all the leaves were but distant memories of raking.

Heck, even some of their Christmas decorations were 50% off, and I half-expected to turn a corner and run into Valentine's Day.

So Thanksgiving already has become a bit of a jump-over holiday anyway, but by the day after Thanksgiving, we're all just over it. We're ready for candy canes and eggnog lattes and little elves. {I feel this so strongly that I even wrote about it before, this belief that by the day after Thanksgiving, the world should be all Christmas-y.}

Sidenote of a business plan: Invent multi-holiday decorations. Like a pumpkin in a parka. Or a scarecrow dressed like Santa. Then someone could decorate for Hallow-thanks-mas in early October and be good until after Christmas.

Sidenote on the sidenote: That's a horrendous idea, especially coming from someone who gets so excited by the thrill of each season. But don't you bet that somewhere, in a SkyMall most likely high above us on a cross-country flight, someone has already marketed this?

It's the same thing with campaign signs: up until Tuesday, they were bold declarations.

Statements in the yard, along with the pumpkins and scarecrows.

They were the hope of victory and a fervent wish for a better tomorrow {or at the very least, a tomorrow that didn't involve so many political ads and flyer and blood-pressure-raising debates}.

And then the election happened and now, the day after, those campaign signs are reminders that we're still a very divided nation.

It's not that I expected the election to sew us all together—oh no, I don't imagine that we are some literal version of Betsy Ross' first American flag that can be put together stitch by stitch {or swing state by swing state?}.

But this morning on NPR, there was talk of President Obama's victory speech and of Governor Romney's concession speech. There were interviews with elated people in Chicago and bewildered people in Boston.

The country took a moment to breathe—and then, we moved on the Next Big Thing: the fiscal cliff.

And I was reminded that we still don't agree on how to fix that looming problem. {I like how I say "we," as if I had an important role to play in this. I did my part when I stood in line at 6:10 on Tuesday morning to vote, surrounded by my neighbors in the lobby of the library—and accepted an "I Voted" sticker from a very enthusiastic poll worker. She was quite obviously a morning person.}

That Republican versus Democrat bickering so represented by the bold campaign signs in people's yard: that's what made me feel that the signs were out of place this morning.

The bickering must be done and we must move on, lest we all tumble together over the cliff.

Oh, sure, there's plenty of talk of bipartisanship, but have you noticed that a lot of it—from both sides—comes with a twinge of, "We're certainly ready to do this, so long as those other guys are. We've always been willing to meet in the middle."

Oh, really?

I want to say that to all politicians and then make them sit down and watch news reels {do news reels still exist?} of their speeches during the debt ceiling crisis and the Super Committee silliness.

I want to say to them, "Didn't your mother teach you to not lie? Don't say always when you know it's not true."

I was thinking all these things while on a walk this morning, and then I came upon this sign that did not look out of place:

The flag.

A little hope that God will be with us.

And you probably can't see this very well, but there's an "I Voted" sticker on that sign: a tangible reminder that we can all take part in this democracy.

This sign calmed me this morning and reminded me that even as we face the Next Big Thing, we can take comfort knowing that we'll face it together.

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