“Hold the dark
holiday in your palms,
Bite it, swallow it, and survive,
Come out the far black tunnel of El Dia de Muerte
And be glad, oh so glad you are ... alive!”
— “The Halloween Tree,” by Ray Bradbury
Halloween has been my
favorite holiday since childhood. There is something about facing,
in a fun, candy-filled holiday way, the terrors that live just
underneath the surface of humanity. In his children’s book “The
Halloween Tree,” Ray Bradbury shows us how it began:
“A million years ago,
in a cave in autumn, with ghosts inside heads, and the sun lost ...”
on to Egyptian mummies and then Samhain himself, with his flashing
scythe — then irrational hysteria, hanging “witches.” Everywhere,
terror and death.
Bradbury said, in 1972,
that this is why we dress our children as cavemen, ghosts,
skeletons, mummies and witches, when once a year we face the
darkness of our fears for them and ourselves.
Well, missing that
point, some children show up at my door as pop stars and Disney
princesses. My granddaughter, somewhat more appropriately, will be
the Black Widow from “The Avengers” this year. Her twin brother,
however, will be a bunny.
He denies it, but I
fear this has something to do with the last family visit, when my
cat killed a rabbit and the decaying body was found under the shoe
rack in the hall.
My son and I read “The
Halloween Tree” for the first time when he was 8; he “gets” it and
just texted me a photo of himself as scary skull-headed Death,
applying makeup to kids’ faces for a middle-school event.
In recent years, I’ve
enjoyed writing my election-year Halloween columns, telling readers
about the creatures I expect to see in my front yard come nightfall
on October 31. One regular has been the Vampire Letstax, whom I
created (after reading the Anne Rice books about the Vampire Lestat)
when Massachusetts politicians were once again threatening to drink
our blood, one tax bracket at a time, with a graduated income tax.
Letstax has returned,
accompanied by Martha Croakley, who wants to fund her vision of
state government with the grad tax, or at least that’s what she said
until someone told her voters have rejected this bright idea five
times on the ballot. So now Letstax and Croakley are trick/treating
with support for automatic gas taxes — not to mention letting
noncitizens vote in local override elections.
Oh, look, here to
formally endorse her is Hellary Clinton, channeling Sen. Warren,
screeching her disdain for people who create jobs and their own
lives: “Don’t let anybody ... tell you that, um, you know ... it’s
corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Yes, we can imagine
what the economy would look like if government ran it: wait, we
don’t have to imagine it, look at what Count Barackula did with
BarackulaCare. What a horror show that rollout was! Did any of our
congressional delegation read the bill before they voted for it?
We know that Nancy
Belagosi didn’t read it; she bragged about waiting until it becomes
law to find out what’s in it. Soon after that, she lost her job as
House Speaker when Republicans became the majority there. This
election, her partner-in-horror, Hairy Wolfman Reid, will be deposed
as Senate majority leader should Republicans also take over the
But enough fun. I just
got an email from the National Taxpayers Union: During the first
session of the 113th Congress, for the first time in history, the
House had an average score over 50 percent for three consecutive
years, reflecting commitment to controlling federal spending, taxes,
debt and regulations. Bad news: The median rating for the Senate was
just 17 percent, so nothing much got done. I’m voting for Brian Herr
for U.S. Senate next week.
Another scary thing
lurking in my yard: the campaign ads, or more accurately, the
possibility that voters actually make decisions based on 30-second
pieces of propaganda. The worst this year is the Seth Moulton ad
attacking Richard Tisei for voting against veterans because he voted
against the budget that contained the sales tax increase from 5 to
6.25 percent. There haven’t been enough Republicans in decades to
actually stop a budget, so veterans were never threatened, but that
doesn’t stop Moulton from trying to mislead the voters he wants to
I wondered when he won
the primary if he’d be able to resist the Democratic Party’s
playbook of attacking all Republicans as right-wing extremists.
Well, I just saw the latest Moulton ad, attacking gay, pro-choice
Tisei as a right-wing extremist. During The Salem News’ 6th
Congressional District debate, Moulton’s similar live attack caused
independent Chris Stockwell to correct him, saying simply: “Tisei is
Thanks, Chris. This
doesn’t change the fact, though, that independents are gray ghosts
who can’t win themselves but can help elect the worse of the red and
blue party candidates.
I’m trying to enjoy my
dark holiday, with my Halloween game of naming the creatures in my
yard, but the truth is, I am genuinely scared of what the world is
becoming. This is the year we must choose our leaders for their
competence, experience and honesty, so we can exit the dark tunnel
created by our country and commonwealth’s recent political mistakes.