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Lary Penkava: Can't we all just get along?

Dear Nephew,


Your Uncle Ambrose is planning a big after-election victory party down at Bucks & Bass Sporting Goods.

He told me that since the constant barrage of attack ads during the campaign will be over, he can now watch something besides PBS and C-SPAN.


"It beats all how the candidates bash each other instead of telling what they plan to do in office," your uncle said. "If they wanna fight, why not put 'em in a ring with boxing gloves? Or maybe without gloves would be better."


I reminded your Uncle Ambrose that some of the contests pitted woman against man. "That wouldn't be a fair fight, would it?" I asked him.


"Well, the man's TV ads made her out to be a she-wolf, so what's not fair?" your uncle replied.


I asked him how he could call it a victory party if it was planned before the results were in. 


"'Cause with the campaign over, everybody wins," your Uncle Ambrose said. "No more attack ads, no more false statements, no more photos of opponents looking like they're coming off a binge. I'd say that's a winner for all."


"OK, so what kind of party will it be?" I asked.


"A masquerade ball," your uncle said. "I'm asking all the guests to come as somebody of the opposite political party from what they're registered."


"Hmm, that should be interesting," I said. "You think anybody will come?"


"I've already got RSVPs from about half the ones I invited," your uncle said. "Some of the rest, I expect, will show up anyway."


"So, what's your thought process about making them dress like somebody in the other party?" I wanted to know.


"Ah, that's the genius of the whole thing," your Uncle Ambrose said with a sneaky grin. "If a Democrat is dressed like Ted Budd, he'll have to use GOP talking points to keep up the appearance. Likewise if a Republican comes as Cheri Beasley.


"You see, if they have to make the points they've been opposed to, maybe some of 'em will soften up a little," your uncle said.


Your Uncle Ambrose could tell I was skeptical, mainly because I commenced some serious dusting of the end table beside his recliner. It's something I do when anything he says bothers me. I was picking up his water bottle to clean under it when your uncle stopped me.


"Alright, I know what's goin' on," he said. "You don't believe my scheme will work, that nobody will come dressed up like the enemy."


"Maybe you should call it a Halloween party," I said. "They'd come if they could make out the opponent to be a monster."


"Well, even a Halloween monster gets a little respect, especially if it's portrayed really well," your Uncle Ambrose said. "People admire a well-played Count Dracula or Frankenstein."


I thought about that for a moment, then an idea popped into my head. I let it take form before advancing it to your uncle.


"Consider this," I said. "Your guests come dressed as members of the opposing party. What you'll wind up with is Cheri Beasley as a witch riding a broom. And Ted Budd will show up as Godzilla, except he'll be attacking Washington instead of Tokyo."


"I hadn't thought of that," your Uncle Ambrose mused. "With all the animosity built up by the campaign, who's to say an after-election victory party will let the air out of the balloon?


"You know what? I'm going to change the party theme," your uncle said. 


"What's it going to be?" I asked, a bit out of breath that he'd bought into my side.


"SpongeBob. Everybody comes dressed as a kitchen sponge wearing square pants.


"How could anybody hate SpongeBob, whether he's a Democrat or Republican? Plus, I consider SpongeBob one of our greatest actors.


"Thanks for the idea, Vic. You're the greatest."




Your Uncle Ambrose and Aunt Victoria


Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com