The great scare over election security after the 2020 election reminds me of another fear-based urban legend that gets thrown around this time of year — the fear of tainted Halloween candy.
According to Joel Best, who was recently interviewed by Vox and the Atlantic as the foremost (and only) researcher on Halloween poisonings, this issue just doesn’t exist. There have never been any verifiable claims that Halloween candy or treats have ever been poisoned, laced with drugs, or razor blades. Despite the evidence, the fear lingers and resurfaced this year with the advent of rainbow fentanyl.
There’s a national movement to formalize “National Trick or Treat Day” to fall on the last Saturday of October in an attempt to avoid late school night shenanigans and difficult Nov.1 mornings. Makes sense. Seems less fun. What’s your take?
I received many accolades for my piece last week regarding civic duty. The topic of civics and civic duty is a concept that’s been rattling around in my brain for a while. I am no expert, but it feels like my generation and the one that follows mine, are not joiners.
What I mean is that membership-based formal clubs, organizations and association seem to be fading. Perhaps social media has filled the gap in connecting like-minded people and the identity culture of today prides itself on individualism vs collectivism. Joining may not be as hip, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t organizing or gathering for a purpose.
Instead, I see people creating eclectic, almost clandestine, types of participatory engagement that rely more on social events or small, invite-only gatherings. These may be in association with a fundraiser for an organization or specific cause, or they might just be for the sake of coming together, also a worthy purpose.
In either case, it takes a catalyst: a person who can make it happen. The catalysts are the people who should be running for office, the people who get stuff done.
But it seems like they are opting to work at nonprofits, run businesses, or be “influencers.” Perhaps it’s because they don’t see government working as creatively, efficiently, or effective as other mission driven organizations. The bureaucracy is a hinderance to progress so to speak.
If this is the case, they are right. For instance, why can we pay online for our utility bills but not building permits? Or why does the postal service provide rural routes, but not in-town delivery? And why for the love of money does it take 10 weeks to renew a passport?
It’s election week, so I expect many of you have already perused your voter’s pamphlet and read all the great coverage on the candidates’ forums this paper has published in preceding editions. Now it’s time to get out the pen and ballot and make your mark.
Local elections may seem less important since very little money and advertising is spent on them as compared to the federal level races. However, local government is where most of the stuff gets done. From building bridges, educating our kids, to staffing hospitals and ambulances, the local business of government districts and municipalities is what affects our day-to-day lives most. Being informed on the local candidates, levies and initiatives is time well spent.