The neighborhood New Year’s Eve party conversations were lively and lovely until someone brought up politics.
OK, fine. It was me.
Yes, the skunk at the garden party who knows her role stuffed yet another mini quiche into her mouth (“Last day before the big diet!”), tossed back a champagne Jell-O shot and asked perhaps a tad loudly: “But what if he wins?”
Forks paused in midair. Even the Green Bay Packers romping toward victory on a TV in the background seemed to stop playing for a fraction of a second.
“He won’t win,” hissed a friend through gritted teeth. He somewhat urgently summoned the host bearing the Jell-O shots back into the room. “And keep ‘em coming” seemed to go without saying.
“Of course he can win and he very likely will,” said skunk-me. “Don’t be dumb.”
Yes, that’s right friends! I’m available to torpedo polite conversation at whatever major event you are planning this year! Got a wedding or bar mitzvah coming up? Ask about my “Ruin Your Party or Money Cheerfully Refunded” specials!
You thought this was going to be a festive night to ring in a presidential ELECTION YEAR? That decides the fate of OUR VERY DEMOCRACY AS WE KNOW IT? Hahahahahahaha! If you don’t want me to talk about the elephant in the room, don’t invite me anywhere in 2024. Was it my imagination or did someone turn off Alexa’s lovely stream of holiday-appropriate jazz and carols?
“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing,” I reminded the room. “I just made that up by the way.”
OK, no I didn’t but it sure is relevant as we hear voters may just not show up in November due to lack of interest.
Yes, the nation’s younger voters, in particular, have to wash their hair that night. But it’s not just the young folks. Poll after poll indicates many of us just can’t be bothered with voting because, ick, the candidates are, according to beloved historian and documentarian Ken Burns, “basically two dusty old men.” OK, he never said that.
It will be Biden and Trump. It just will. For a brief time, the nation was, if not captivated exactly, “definitely sorta kinda watching” former South Carolina Governor Nikki (“Nikki”) Haley with interest. Even the skunk here thought she just might find a way to wrest the Republican nomination from Trump. It was never going to be Ron DeSantis or Vivek because odious. Nikki? She had presence, a decent backstory and a seemingly endless supply of campaign appropriate Chanel suits. It didn’t even matter that her commitment to word salad was so profound as to require a bottle of good old-fashioned Kraft Catalina to make it go down easier. Polls commissioned by both sides revealed Nikki Haley could beat Biden if given the chance, which made Republicans everywhere say: “But, waaaahhhhh, we wanted a MAN!” No, no. I meant to say, “Hmmmm. Vivek would look good in that Chanel suit, too, if we’re being honest.”
Unfortunately, the former buzzy upstart blew up her campaign just in time for Christmas by declaring the Civil War was “all about grits, honestly; I mean, the North famously likes Cream of Wheat, so war was pretty much bound to happen, like, duh.”)
Back at the New Year’s Eve party, I had worked my magic and even though there was still an hour left before the ball dropped in Times Square, more than a few folks were suddenly inquiring as to the whereabouts of their coats. (“Oh, just forget it; if you find it give it to charity…”)
As my official New Year’s resolution, I promise to read the room better in 2024. And also stop standing on chairs to talk. I think some people find that off putting.