A long season is ending

Published 9:43 pm Monday, November 6, 2017

It would be nearly impossible to live in Virginia and be unaware that today is Election Day.

The signs litter yards and road shoulders throughout the commonwealth, rioting for your attention with their blue and red and white lettering and backgrounds that silently scream, “Here I stand, proclaiming the most patriotic candidate on the ballot!”

Radio advertisements have done just the reverse, giving voters the perpetual noise of the candidates’ claims and counter-claims without any of the visual cues. Red and blue must be conveyed here with verbal imagery, so the resulting prose is purpler than Virginia’s political map.

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Television commercials have given us the whole loathsome package. In 30- and 60-second bites, the commonwealth’s candidates for state office have devoured any sense of goodwill toward men and have eaten up any ideas we might have had about coming together after the divisive 2016 presidential election.

A medium with the power to set agendas — the power to highlight and characterize our shared cultural, historical and social ideals — has been used to destroy the foundations of character and trust that lie beneath both the right and left wings of our nation’s political house.

Having spent most of the first part of this year setting a great example of how to conduct genteel campaigns for statewide office, both parties chose sometime within the past few months to throw aside class and decorum and plunge headfirst into the mud, which they then chose not so much to sling at one another as to deliver it via fire hose. And in the end, we’re all covered in it, we all look like it, and we all smell like it.

So by today, most of us are just ready for it to be over. Even if we’re all in for one or the other, even if we’re dead-set against the other or the one, few of us will be sorry to see Wednesday dawn without electioneering.

Tuesday could be a long night as the polling places confirm or contradict the polls that have themselves confirmed and contradicted the various biases of their creators for months. But there will almost certainly come a point where one candidate or the other stands behind a podium on a platform at the front of an uncharacteristically quiet hotel banquet hall, where balloons and streamers seem to wilt under the harsh television lights, and concedes defeat.

Maybe it’s your guy. Maybe it’s the other guy. Whichever one it is, we hope Virginia voters can show a lot more class than they have been shown this election season.

Meanwhile, go vote.