Trick or Treat, America

As we reckon time these days, it's near midnight on October 31 in the year 2004. Some would say it's the eve of All Saint's Day, or All Hallows' eve, if we were back in medieval England.

Witches and other evil spirits were thought to roam the earth on this particular evening. As legend has it, they enjoyed a merry old time playing tricks on people they encountered in celebration of the season of diminishing sunlight.

By way of protection, people lit bonfires and made offerings of exquisite foods and sweets. Many thought they could further avoid demonic persecution by disguising themselves as one of the roaming spirits. Hence it soon because quite the fashion to flit about in one macabre costume or another consuming the very same dainty snacks set out for the evil ones!

A modern day version of this tradition still survives in many countries of the world; especially those of Celtic influence, such as the United States. We call it Halloween. Our costume clad youth go forth in the late evening seeking treats and threatening to play tricks on those who refuse.

Somehow it seems fitting that on this night, I sit and ponder an election that will be held in two days time. Some call it the most important political race of our lives. A record turn out is expected at the poles.

Like Halloween, this election is seen as very much a battle between light and darkness, good and evil. Never before, they say, has our country been so divided. In fact, one poll asked if voters were prepared to get behind and support whoever wins, no matter which of the two candidates it might be; 64% said no! Lines have been drawn, lifetime relationships ended over differences in political preferences.

The entire world is holding its collective breath in anticipation of who will become the next president of these United States of America. Will it be four more years of chaos and abandon of reason, or will "we the people"chose to take the nation in a new direction; one that is perceived to be better because worse is simply not an option any sane person wishes to imagine.

They say the race is just too close to call. What's more, there is an even greater concern heavy on the minds of millions here in America and throughout the world: the possibility of endless recounts, litigation and scandal that could postpone the selection of a clear winner for weeks or months! Some actually fear we may never know the true outcome of the election because the courts might end up once again deciding who will be the next resident of the White House!

I feel it is high time to restore a little peace and calm in these troubled times. So I have decided to end all this wailing and gnashing of teeth by letting the entire world in on who will in fact win! And I will do so this very night on the eve of All Saint's Day!

Instead of a crystal ball, I've taken this opportunity to consult a few of the ghoulies and ghosties out and about this fine evening. And here is what they tell me:

John Kerry will be the clear cut winner. He will be proclaimed the winner before 2:00 AM on the morning of 11/3/04. He will win the popular vote by over one million ballots. He will win the electoral vote as well, receiving at least 9 more than the 270 needed.

I realize this is not good news for a considerable number of persons. I feel your pain. I know it will be hard for you guys to get much sympathy. Your screams of agony and dismay will surely go unheard amid the overwhelming howl of joy and abandon hurling from the throats and hearts of untold multitudes the world over.

If it's any consolation, at least you've been left with the ability to reproduce. There are those who would seriously be in favor of neutering your kind for the sake of our common gene pool and the future generations who depend on its integrity. Thank goodness some of us are liberal enough to understand that even the rights of the simpleminded must be protected and preserved; and yes, even the brightest among us may be led astray from time to time.

This year, on November 2, we will go forth a hundred and twenty million strong to chose the course of our destiny. Like a multitude of tortured souls on All Hallows' eve, we will stand, one by one, before the voting machines and ballot boxes throughout this great nation.

Some of us will look down with trembling fear and dark despair, and say no to positive change. But many, many more of us will look up into the shining eyes of dear old Uncle Sam, and vote yes to a bright new era of promise and hope.

This Halloween we stand before a closed door. On the other side, awaits two very different futures. The choices we make on election day will determine which one we get. Trick or treat, America!

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