By Denise Dunbar
Earlier this week, while pondering the potential Times editorial, we weighed the topics of Halloween in Old Town or Tuesday’s election. We eventually decided on a different subject (see page 20 of our print edition for our editorial on the National Science Foundation relocation and affordable housing).
It occurred to me, however, that there’s quite a bit of overlap between Halloween in Alexandria and this year’s gubernatorial race in Virginia.
Halloween in Old Town, particularly between the 200 and 500 blocks of S. Lee St., is a raucous, surreal and — depending on your age and sensory-overload threshold — occasionally scary event. It’s more lighthearted than enlightening: Two years ago, Occupy Lee Street protested in the roadway.
It’s a night when Virginia’s leading political figure, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, turns his side yard into a cobweb-strewn, strobe-lighted spooky forest that features the former governor in a frightening mask offering treats from a bowl of eyeballs.
By contrast, Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates don’t need to wear masks to be scary.
State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, wants to be entrusted with running the commonwealth’s education system, despite the fact that he and his wife have homeschooled six of their seven children. Cuccinelli also reneged on the gentleman’s agreement that should have put two-term Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in line to be the party’s nominee.
Instead, Cuccinelli successfully pushed to change the statewide primary — which the far-more-electable Bolling would have won — to a convention-nominating process that was dominated by the party’s far-right faction. Cuccinelli got the nomination and is headed to a double-digit defeat.
And then there’s Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who — how do I say this nicely? — appears to need a lengthy hand washing. He is a political operative and prolific fundraiser. In fact, fundraising is so important to McAuliffe that he (and he’s told the story himself) made his crying wife and newborn baby sit in the car while he attended a fundraiser on the way home from the hospital.
He also has used political connections to raise money for questionable business investments that are being investigated, such as GreenTech Automotive in Mississippi.
Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson once served as governor, deserves better than Cuccinelli and McAuliffe.
In a democracy, it is everyone’s duty to vote, even when the candidates are less than stellar. I encourage Alexandrians to head to the polls Tuesday and cast their ballots as their consciences see fit.
However, if you have to choose between Halloween in Old Town or venturing out on Election Day, I’d vote for spending October 31 on Lee Street. It’s bound to be less frightening.