In the world outside Washington DC, Halloween officially rolls around just once a year. But inside the Beltway, the political funhouse is open for business 24/7/365. In fact, Halloween-y activities are pretty much the norm in the Capitol: Scary stories [“Illegal immigrants are taking away our jobs!”]. Goodie bags [filled by lobbyists with checks, cash, football tickets and packages of self-serving legislative language]. Disguises [We hear that Blue Dog costumes are quite popular this season]. And, of course, tricks [Beware the ghost of Lee Atwater].
So, get out your Google map and follow along as we go trick-or-treating through the 2010 political neighborhood.
1. Your required first stop is at the office of self-appointed legislative gatekeeper Senator Jim DeMint [R-SC], who has issued the following statement: “No trick-or-treater will be allowed to proceed onto the floor of the US Senate until approved by this office.” [DeMint is also rumored to be giving out dog whistles, but if you have to ask for one, you don't qualify.]
2. Optional road trip to Delaware, where Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell—the only self-confessed witchcraft dabbler currently running for federal office—will demonstrate her skills, magically separating “separation of church and state” from the First Amendment, filling your head with bogus arguments and handing out fake college credentials for your resume.
3. Continue on to 1605 Longworth House Office Building, where Congressman Alan Grayson [D-FL] will tell you the scary “truth” about Republicans’ health-care agenda. [Spoiler alert: “They want you to die sooner.”]
4. While you’re in the Longworth Building, go to room 1101, and check out the Jack O’Lantern. Oh, snap! It’s not a pumpkin, it’s Congressman John Boehner, fresh from the tanning booth.
5. Bring your treat-or-treat bag to the Democratic National Committee office at your own peril: Known in some circles as the House of the Living Dead, the place is rife with zombies who are just coming back to life in time for the November elections.
6. Doors to avoid: the West Wing of the White House. Oh, wait—it’s okay: Rahm Emanuel has moved to Chicago.
7. General word of caution: When knocking on any politician’s door, beware: It’s election season, which means that the skeletons are coming out of many closets.
8. Stop in at the haunted House of Representatives, where the political agendas of right-wing Congresspeople are causing long-gone New Deal Democrats and defunct moderate Republicans to turn in their graves.
9. Next, proceed to the Department of Defense. But be careful about how you behave there and what you take away, because what happens in the Pentagon stays in the Pentagon. So, don’t ask and don’t tell. Or, do ask and do tell. Or, um, just do whatever the latest court ruling tells you to do.
10. Finally, want to see something REALLY scary? Take a side trip to the California campaign headquarters of candidate Meg Whitman, and bring along an undocumented worker. Whitman will give you a frightening demonstration on how to make an illegal alien disappear.
Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.