3:06 PM AKDT, November 3, 2012
I need to confess something:
I miss the Appliance Direct guy.
And David Maus.
I even miss seeing those disturbingly peppy dancers doing their cheesy choreography in front of the Fun Spot go-kart track.
I know these are commercials that usually make most of us scramble for the mute button. Or a hammer.
But at this point, I would take a hundred of David Maus' awkward, double-thumbs-up gestures over another ad telling me that Linda Stewart wants to tax the air I breathe or that Bob Brooks is a modern-day ayatollah.
Please, somebody, scream at me: "You paid too much!"
The TV isn't the only household appliance that has me scared nowadays. It's my telephone, too.
When it rings, I eye it the way Drew Barrymore did her phone in "Scream."
I just know that there's a stalker lurking on the other end. Last week it was Ann Romney ... followed by a female doctor telling me that Republicans wanted to regulate my uterus.
Oh, how I'd rejoice to hear again from that nice lady at Bright House who calls to tell me that the $160 I'm paying each month doesn't allow me to save nearly as much as if I'd agree to pay $200.
I long for the mundane.
Facebook isn't safe anymore either.
In the old days, I'd roll my eyes when people rushed to post pictures of their breakfast: a freshly poured glass of orange juice with a witty cutline like: "juice. yummy."
Now, OJ seems downright nostalgic compared with the woman bragging about how she stiffed her waitress out of a tip simply because the waitress was wearing an Obama button — and the customer wanted to teach her a lesson about wealth redistribution. (More depressing was the gleeful chorus of "likes" from those pleased about her sticking it to the minimum-wage worker who dared to have a different opinion.)
Cutesy-pie pictures of kids on a hayride prompt rants about Rick Scott trying to destroy their future.
I truly believe people are inherently good.
In fact, in my job, I am blessed to see countless acts of altruism and selflessness.
But something happens to this country every four years.
It's like a quadrennial full moon, turning normally sane people into frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics.
Some of you have told me that you've temporarily lost loved ones to this affliction.
It's your "Nana" — a usually beloved family figure who makes pumpkin muffins and tasty beef stew — who nowadays ends her Sunday-dinner prayer with: "And please deliver us from the Muslim immigrant in the White House." (Oh, no, Nana. Step away from the AM radio and back toward the crockpot.)
And your neighbor, Bud, a normally cheerful guy who's usually ready with a wide grin and cold beer, who now responds to inconsequential remarks like, "Nice weather, eh?" with: "YEAH, BUT NO THANKS TO THAT FASCIST ROMNEY!"
I'm not supposed to feel this way. I'm a political writer, for Pete's sake. I should be rollicking around like a pig in slop.
But it's hard to revel when slop is all there is.
Estimates suggest federal candidates and their special-interest backers will have spent $6 billion on this election cycle.
Do you realize how much money that is? Do you realize what we could do with that?
And very little of it is used to do anything other than tar and feather the opposition.
These are not the symptoms of a healthy society.
In fact, if you want to contemplate one of the most depressing things about our state of affairs, consider that the most uplifting and unifying political thing this country has seen in nearly four years was prompted by a massive storm that swamped cities and killed people.
For a brief period last week, party labels didn't matter. (Though even that unity ticked off some people who branded Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a traitor for teaming with the Democratic president to help residents of his state recover and rebuild.)
Tuesday will ultimately come and go. The sun will still rise the next morning and set the next eve. And when it does, I wonder whether everyone will be able to look back on all of his or her pre-election actions with pride.
Will they be able to look their children in the eye and say: "Here's why Daddy was right to call people who disagreed with him a socialist"? Or a "fascist"? Or …?
I'm not so sure.
One thing I am sure about, though, is that we all need a break. And to take a deep breath.
So, all together now: Inhale … exhale … and exclaim: "It's huuuge!"
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