You probably had difficulty trying to decide on a costume for Halloween. Were you smart enough to discard that old Darth Vader light saber and the Batman cape and opt for one of the following choices?
Joe the Plumber. If you masqueraded as Joe the Plumber and trick-or-treated in many neighborhoods of Indianapolis, it would have been a good idea to carry a wrench. In the last few years, Indianapolis has experienced a spike in violent and other crimes. City government's first charge is to protect its citizens. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department needs to arrest more bad guys and put them away. This has been a challenge in Mayor Ballard's first term, but it's too early to be critical. Improvement in those statistics would be welcome.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. A Wright costume would have been appropriate, particularly if you walked with someone who had an Obama mask. The recent accusations by Gov. Sarah Palin that Obama is palling around with terrorist Bill Ayers ring hollow, but Obama's association with his pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ was never sufficiently explained. Wright has repeatedly denounced our country, including in a sermon when he asserted that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own terrorism. We are branded, and rightly so, by friends and others with whom we associate. Obama should have repudiated this relationship many years before being forced to do so under a media barrage.
Tyrannosaurus Rex. You could have startled your friends as a meat-eating monster. Forget about science. It is like old times. After all, Gov. Palin wants schools to teach our children that man walked with dinosaurs as little as 6,000 years ago. That's scary, even for Halloween. In my synagogue, they teach that the earth was created in six days. It's a lovely story, but that hocus pocus belongs in churches and synagogues—not in our public schools.
President Bush. (The female equivalent would be Alice in Wonderland.) You got candy if you wore a President Bush mask, but it was bittersweet. Bush leaves office with ongoing wars on two fronts, an energy crisis, an economic crisis and a gargantuan federal budget deficit. Time will not be kind to the Bush presidency. Halloween is over. Throw the mask away.
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. If you donned the flowing white robes of the King of Saudi Arabia, you couldn't have expected much. We've already given more than we can afford. A stop at my house would have yielded a piece of black Indiana coal. Aziz is one of the culprits responsible for the decline in our standard of living. His cartel controls the oil spout. Because of price fixing and gouging, we have suffered a massive wealth transfer to dangerous and hostile regimes. We have been complicit. The challenge of the next administration is a cogent energy policy that weans us off of OPEC and its predatory pricing schemes.
Sgt. Joe Friday. You could have proudly worn the uniform and badge of LAPD, and demanded "just the facts" from your friends wearing Jill Long Thompson masks. She has been sloppy with her data on Indiana's economic development, and Gov. Daniels suggested that the Dragnet cop should demand accuracy as part of debate protocol. The voting public deserves to be properly informed.
Between Halloween and Nov. 4, there are precious few days to debate the issues of the day and the competency and worthiness of the candidates. Whatever costume you wore on Halloween, let Joe the Plumber, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tyrannosaurus Rex, President Bush, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Sgt. Joe Friday and other characters of this election cycle continue to spark a lively dialogue with your friends, family and neighbors. It is with an informed and energized voting public that our democracy will continue to evolve, persevere and flourish.
Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Media Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.