I’ve been reading up on election news lately, dealing alternately with feelings of disgust and the desire to participate (isn’t that the way it goes with so many things in life?).  One of the things that always amuses me around election season are the charges of dirty politics, complaints about the use of attack ads etc… Thankfully, there are things round to remind us that attacks are not the best evidence that the political discourse in our country has declined (sound bites and “debates” are better evidence of that).  One of these is a great video the folks at Reason put together (passed along by First Thoughts, the blog at First Things) to talk about the polemics of the election of 1800.  Check it out:

And, just for fun, my favorite literary comment about a past election, this one from the original version of Look Homeward Angel, O Lost, by Thomas Wolfe:

“Oliver Gant had cast his first vote in Baltimore.  It was for Ulysses Grant.  Now he rode southward under the threatening mutter of a new civil war.  Two men named Hayes and Tilden had contested the Presidency with a spirited exchange of vitriol.  Mr. Tilden had been given the most votes, but Mr. Hayes had been given the Presidency.  And the rabble whose large intelligence had ordained this miracle now stood shirtily around with opened mouths, or went bawling through the streets by torch light in pursuit of the lucid simplicities of democratic government.” (O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life, p27)