Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Election Day?

Since today is Election Day, I went in to my office to help out my boss. The municipal office is officially closed on Election Day for all but election business, but unfortunately my boss has to work all day as long as the polls are open.

Normally I go in at night and help tabulate election results and handle phones when the polls close [everybody calls to find out who won the minute the polls close - as if we have the answers. News flash: We don't. We have no clue who won anything until the tapes in come in from the polling machines, but I digress.]

Today I went in during the morning to do some work and to cover the phones while my boss toured the polling stations and I fielded a bunch of typical phone calls, mostly: "Are you closed today?" Since I've already answered the phone, people generally don't believe me when I say, "Yes, we're closed. I'm just here answering phones to tell people that we're closed."

Hey, this is government, folks. It's how things work.

The thing that got me most today, though, was the woman who said, "Oh, that's right. It's a holiday."

Now, I know she meant, obviously a government holiday. The day we elect our government officials is also a day all the government officials have off, explain that one to me?? But beside the obvious irony, I thought to myself, is it REALLY a holiday?

"Holiday" is a contraction of the words 'Holy Day' - therefore, is a day off in honor of the government [decidely unholy, let's face it] really a holiday, or just a day off?

Granted there are days of the year, the Fourth of July, for instance, which while it's a secular holiday, a government holiday, a Federal holiday, could also be construed as a 'holi-day' because it celebrates freedom. Likewise I suppose for anyone running for public office, Election Day would be a solemn and celebratory occasion, if they win of course. If they lose, then it's crap.

I'd like to propose that certain days be designated 'UnHolidays' - not because they're bad or evil, but because they are not necessarily holi/holy in any way. Election Day should be one of those UnHolidays. Everybody can have the day off, no problem, but let's not call it a Holiday because there are no parties [well again, unless you win the election] and there are no gifts, festivals, services, rituals or Hallmark cards designed to herald the occasion.

What do you think? Is Election Day a Holiday or an UnHoliday?


Jennifer Elbaum said...

I'd like to call it Hell-i-day because of the number of recorded "get out and vote" calls I receive. Will that work?

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

LOL! Works for me!