Why we should vote in spring and not in fall –

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I’ve often thought elections should be held in the spring, when hope like blossoms springs from our hearts after the long, bleak winter. 

Instead we hold them shortly after the leaves have fallen and the fields have been reaped of their harvest. 

We hold elections at a time when our hearts and minds are battening down the hatches in advance of the figurative death witnessed in leafless skeletal tree branches, barren fields and brutal winds whispering the onslaught of winter. 

Makes you wonder what the time of year we vote has on our collective psyche. 

Would the optimism coming out of a long-winter’s slumber into the fresh newness of spring change the vitriolic nature of our passive-aggressive social networking? 

Is there something to the fact that elections are held at a time when we are still coming down from the super-charged, adrenaline-filled weekends on boats, at the races, on bicycles and skateboards soaking up the sun in a bleary, devil-may-care, 95-degree summer stupor? 

Like all journalists, election night is like Christmas morning for me. I love the frenetic atmosphere in the newsroom generated, no doubt, at the thought that we are covering one of the greatest aspects of being an American, the right and ability to vote. 

I love the fast-paced narrative as the political landscape of the future starts to take shape, and the stories of the next year are laid out along changing party lines and new faces both local and national. 

At 38, this will be five elections from inside newsrooms stretching from Salem, Oregon as an intern at the Statesman Journal to fighting with CNN photographers on the camera podium in the Adams Center in Missoula, Montana for a Barack Obama rally to nearly knocking over the newly elected governor of Alaska while trying to take my heavy winter coat off before an interview.

And now to Chicago, the home of the sitting president, who is looking a little more grey around the temples, a little more lined in the face and with a lesser gleam in his eyes.

Or maybe that’s just my perspective going into this winter season having watched the most derisive and negative campaigns of my career. 

Before this election season, I had never considered unfriending my friends on Facebook or Twitter, and yet here I am having culled my list. Not to reflect what I want to hear, but to temper the vitriol and to make the voices of reason on both sides of the politics spectrum stand out in the din and chaos.

And I’m back to the idea of holding elections in the spring, where after candidates have battled themselves bloody trying to reach us through the protective cover of our hard hibernation, we emerge with a collective hope in all things new, a desire to clean out the cupboards of dust and detritus and perhaps extending that to city councils, legislatures and Congress.

Instead of voting after the grilled hedonism of late summer, after the death-themed finality of Halloween, lets vote after the hunger pangs of Lent and with the newborn feel of Easter fresh in our hearts.


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