Halloween is my favorite time of year. I’ve always loved the opportunity to try on a different identity. As a relatively shy child the occasion was a big deal to me, because I found that when I put on a mask I felt more comfortable doing things that would typically make me feel uncomfortable. It also helped me think about what it might be like to always be that character who acted in a certain way. Halloween expanded my understanding of a variety of personalities.
When I became a mother, Halloween provided a wonderfully entertaining experience as my children whole-heartedly embraced the opportunity to become someone else for a day. I loved seeing what costume they chose and watching them enthusiastically dive into character. My two children were only eighteen months apart in age, and as they got older they enjoyed coordinating their costumes because they knew it would generate more of a reaction when they went trick-or-treating. They dressed as Maid Marian and Robin Hood; a witch and a wizard; Velma and Shaggy from Scooby Doo; Deb and Napoleon from Napoleon Dynamite; they dressed as each other and had me laughing deliriously for hours as they mimicked each other’s expressions and activities; they convinced me and my husband to join them as an art gallery where we were Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, Picasso’s Sylvia David, Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait, and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait; and their final team costume before they both left home was as a 1980s Groupie zombie and Rick Astley zombie.
I no longer have children at home, and don’t have any Halloween parties to attend, but I am still wrapped up in the Halloween spirit … but it feels different this year. I realized that my anticipation of seeing people try on a new identity set in sometime around February of this year, when I found myself wishing that every member of the Republican-controlled House and Senate would put on the mask of an American super hero and collectively stop the scary Trump train in its tracks. I was optimistic that most of them would recognize the urgency to do this before any more damage was caused to our country and our confidence in our political leaders. I have foolishly believed that people are inherently good. But the Trump train jumped the tracks of acceptable American political process long ago and the heroes that have emerged from Capitol Hill to stop the wreckage have been few and far between.
And now, here we are—approaching Halloween and the end of 2017—and I am still wishfully thinking that a team of Republican heroes will show up on the doorstep of D.C. dressed to save the day. John Mc Cain, Bob Corker, and Jeff Flake have recently stepped up and have been ringing the bell of American morality. I sincerely appreciate their efforts, but is this really all the Republican Congress has to offer its people? I believe that everyone who is elected to public office should step into the role with the intent of being a super hero to the American people every single day. Despite my wish that people would always be good and consider the needs of others, I know it simply isn’t in the nature of some to transcend partisanship to do what is best for humanity. I wish these people would go to Party City and buy an Integrity Man or Woman mask and consider what it feels like, for at least one day, to act in the best interest of the people of this country instead of focusing on the longevity of their political career.
Maybe the doorstep of Capitol Hill is the wrong place to look for super heroes. Maybe I should redefine what the costume of a hero looks like. Maybe real heroes never consider taking on any other identity because they are simply born with the cloak of human decency wrapped around them. For these people, justice is most likely the ultimate goal instead of personal gain.
Yes, things are different this Halloween. The term “scary” has been redefined this year by some of our political leaders enablers. My faith in humanity has been greatly shaken. And I find myself hoping that I open my door this October 31st to find trick-or-treaters dressed like Bob Mueller—a real American super hero.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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