Tis the season. We get to put on our various costumes and masks and go out for a little trick and treat, and in the same week, to show up to the polls and vote for a different type of trick bag.

One event is filled with ghouls, monsters, and candy; the other filled with ghouls, monsters, and hope for sweet revenge (of one political party over the other).

Halloween is anticipated with an equal amount of mirth by children and adults alike; of being entertained by ever-increasing horror images of goons covered in gore.

We love to be scared, only to experience relief from laughter. It’s primal. We breathe at the end of the night knowing that there is no Bogeyman, after all.

On the other hand, this political cycle, known as the mid-terms, is more alarming. It is designed to appeal to our baser instincts, confirming that there are, indeed monsters amongst us.

If you are paying attention to some of the political ads, these are frightening times-and we ought to be afraid; very afraid. But of what?

Nikki Haley, outgoing UN Ambassador, in a speech last week, said that she had seen evil on her watch at the UN, but that in America, the politicians/elected officials were not evil; just people disagreeing.

I don’t know. Ideas are born of people, and there are many evil ideas afloat during this election.

No doubt, we are involved in a cultural war: one candidate in the Texas campaign actually suggested that the Bogeyman (his opponent) wanted to turn Texas into California. There is another charge that one of the congressional candidates wants to turn their state into Venezuela.

Where does it end? In Florida, there is a ‘best’ choice. We don’t have to look far to see and hear evil. It is televised nightly on all the network and cable stations. It is broadcast on the radio and on internet outlets. It is posted on Facebook and across social media. It is preached from the pulpits and has fomented in our minds, resting heavily on our hearts.

Hate has come out. That foul four letter word has slipped into our daily lexicon. It describes how too many of us now feel about being American. We have become comfortable to express- out loud- our hatred toward other human beings/groups; against ideas, issues, institutions, opposing political parties; and, to actually be “okay” with harboring and expressing that toxic feeling.

Unveiled, hate no longer requires a mask or makeup or some fancy costume. The once hooded, pointy hat of the KKK has been exchanged for Khaki pants, a plaid shirt, and a red MAGA hat.

It is not the fault of #45. He is simply holding a mirror up to what has been happening in this country for decades.

The ‘new normal,’ to freely express individual and group rage; to vilify any “other”; to behave with incivility; to hold our neighbors in disdain and utter disrespect, is a bigger threat to our national identity than international treaties and accords.

But can black folk afford to freely participate in the hate-fest? What about “going high?”

If we join the hate-filled choruses, what becomes of our plight- since laboring in the fields, plowing the ground for more civil rights, even for a harvest of just small gains over the past one hundred fifty years?

Instead of hate, here’s another four letter word to consider: Vote We say we hold certain truths to be selfevident…yet, when we turn our backs and aim our feet away from the polling place, rejecting the long-fought right to vote with a litany of excuses, it’s an insult to all that we say we hold sacred- our ancestors’ struggles and sacrifices.

No matter how long, any listing of excuses is unacceptable; unjustified.

So, why does this particular election carry so much importance?