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Perfect gifts for the election season.
Line on up! Get’cher souvenirs! Remember the election of the century!

Editorial 12: My boy, have I got a deal for you. I was going to do my editorial for this week on the union of two of this year’s biggest events: the “November” election that spilled over into December, and the Christmas season, which seems to start earlier every year.

If this trend continues, I expect the holiday season of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day to be combined into one great big secular Uberholiday.

(I considered trying to throw the violence in the Middle East into the editorial mix as well, but I just couldn’t find a way to make it fit.)

In my opinion, the two seasons of the elections and the holidays are perfectly matched. The holiday season has become a cancerous growth of institutionalized happiness and “joy,” designed to make money for those who are able to exploit it. And the fight for the presidency became a legal contest to decide which cancerous growth got into the White House, a building designed to make money for those who are able to exploit it. They go hand in hand.

So, for this week’s editorial, I was going to go into detail about the EleXmas season, talking about the number of different ingenious ways that people had of making money off of the election fiasco (lawyers, politicians and news agencies aside), and perhaps give you some good gift ideas as well.

Then I realized I would have to actually do research to write the article. I’m the Arts and Entertainment editor. I took this job so I could get paid just to sit, watch movies, read books, listen to CDs, go to plays and ramble on about how they made me feel. So, in the interest in saving time, I’m just going to make up some merchandising for the discerning EleXmas shopper. I realize this may jeopardize my credibility a bit, but that’s what The Torch is all about.

So here is the list of products I would be selling if I wanted to capitalize off this EleXmas season. The first item is for the 50 percent of the nation that actually voted. It’s a simple gift, but one that shows you care. Your loved one/voting partner will remember you forever when you give them a t-shirt saying “I voted for president and all the nation got was these stupid t-shirts.”

However, this doesn’t account for everyone involved in the election. Those hundreds and thousands involved in the Democrat and Republican election campaigns have been mostly overlooked (except by the news stations who have been clamoring to interview anyone even remotely involved in the election to give them some “insider analysis”). For the neglected election campaigner, fundraiser or politician in your life, buy them this variant t-shirt, reading, “I spent billions of dollars to buy this election and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

But the real gems of my merchandising go to the Florida voter. If someone in your circle of family and friends is from Florida, you might want to look into getting one of my tasteful bumper stickers, such as “I’m from Florida and I vote, whether I know how to or not” and “Florida Voters do it twice.” These items have overtaken my Chicago bumper stickers, “I’m dead, and I vote” and “Vote early, vote often” as my most popular item.

For the more upscale Florida voter, show them you care with our new butterfly ballot pendant. This beautiful piece of jewelry, made of iron pyrite and encrusted with real zirconium emeralds, perfectly symbolizes the glitter and inherent worth of politicians’ promises. The ballot has all the candidates’ names more or less by their respective voting hole, with directions helpfully written out in Cyrillic. Comes in both a dimpled and a dangling chad version.

For the budding political scientist in your family, I recommend my children’s coloring books, “The Electoral College: Antediluvian Political Mess, or Democratic Oddity. Or, If It’s So Great, Why Isn’t Everyone Using It?”

For the other end of the spectrum, the accountant in your family will enjoy Gore’s new autobiography, “Real Men Concede Twice,” the sequel to his previous book, “Living with Dutch Elm Disease.” Word is Bush’s autobiography, “537: Margin of Victory, or Number of Men I’ve Had Put to Death?” will be coming out in time for Mother’s Day. The two will reportedly be collaborating on a textbook, “Litigations ‘R Us: Why Whining to the Courts Beats Democracy Any Day of the Week.”

And finally, just as the Uberholiday seems to be extending more and more into the early fall, and the election moves from lasting one day to lasting over a month, the election campaigning starts earlier and earlier. So, in anticipation of the inevitable 2004 election season, I already have campaign bumper stickers ready. “Re-elect Bush. Less than 50% of the voting public can’t be wrong.”

Thank you. I accept cash, credit, money orders, and personal checks. Sorry, no soft money contributions accepted.

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