The Halloween gag gone (really) bad

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Sure, it’s Wednesday.

The morning after the night before.

Normally, I’d be reminding you it’s time for our often-amusing Chat Day, and we’d be off and running.

But obviously, today is a little different. Almost everyone has an election hangover — some cases being worse than others.

In many places, ballots are still being counted as close races shake out.

It’s all been a bit overwhelming.

So my plan for today was to find some funny stories to make you giggle a bit after an evening of so much tension.

Unfortunately, I’m buried in items that aren’t humorous at all.

What can I say?

It all fits with the exhaustion of the last few days.

ITEM: What on Earth were they thinking down in Middleton?

The previously unknown suburb of Boise is now considered home to endless nut cases by millions across the United States and around the world.

Let’s set the stage ...

In one of the worst Halloween stunts of all time, 14 teachers and staff at Heights Elementary in the Middleton School District chose unusual costumes.

Correction: Insane costumes.

A few dressed up as a border wall (yes, really), with President Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” written across the various sections.

Another gang donned Mexican outfits, complete with sombreros and fake mustaches.

OK, that was nuts. It was meant as a joke, presumably, but we still don’t know if the staff was cheerleading for the wall or making fun of it.

Either way, Hispanic groups just about everywhere went ballistic (enrollment at Heights is about 13 percent Hispanic/Latino), so did the ACLU — and likewise the school district, which placed the 14 offenders on administrative leave as of last Saturday.

But wait ...

Some parents began circulating a petition in support of the teachers, and by Monday they had 9,000 signatures.

Oh, wait again ...

An online petition was generated OPPOSING the stunt by those teachers and staff members, and quickly picked up 8,000 names.

The only certain result here is that there will be a whole lot more entries for “Middleton, Idaho” when you do a Google search — likely well into the next millennium.

I suspect it will be the same if you type: “Teachers dressed as wall.”

ITEM: Now that all the statewide legislative seats have been filled, and we’ll have a new Congress in January ...

The voters who got their way should be optimistic, right?

Not so fast.

On the national level, legislators deal with such complicated issues that they rely heavily on aides to research subjects and get a sense of which way the political winds are blowing.

Ah, but a recent survey conducted by three well-known public affairs and political science professors seemed to indicate that these supposedly savvy aides don’t have a clue what’s happening out in America.

“Congress doesn’t know what policies Americans support,” the professors wrote.

“In a research paper, we compared senior staff members’ responses with what the public in their districts or states actually wanted, using large-scale public opinion surveys and standard models.

“Across the board, we found that congressional aides are wildly inaccurate in their perceptions of their constituents’ opinions and preferences.

“For instance, if we took a group of people who reflected the makeup of America and asked them whether they supported background checks for gun sales, nine out of 10 would say yes.

“Shockingly, 92 percent of the staff members we surveyed underestimated support in their district or state for background checks, including all Republican aides and over 85 percent of Democratic aides.

“The same was true for the four other issues we looked at: regulating carbon emissions to address the climate crisis, repealing the Affordable Care Act, raising the federal minimum wage and investing in infrastructure.”

Sheesh!

Maybe it didn’t matter who won in this election.

ITEM: Do you believe in ghosts?

Responding to a YouGov survey commissioned by The Economist, 47 percent of American adults said they did, indeed, consider the undead to be, uh, alive.

Or something.

Not only that, but 15 percent claimed they’d seen a ghost.

Personally, I don’t think that’s odd at all, because I’m one of that 15 percent.

Hey, if you live in Scotland for a few years, and walk through enough creaky castles and old buildings, you’re GOING to run into some wispy old person who lived in another century.

As for believing, apparently I was on the wrong side of a gender gap.

According to that survey, 53 percent of women believe in ghosts compared with 40 percent for men.

“We found that a similar gender gap persists when asking whether ‘people can place curses on other people,’” the authors wrote.

“That strange gap might have something to do with women being identified as witches.

“However, about 15 percent of 3,500 people tried for witchcraft in Scotland during the 1600s were men.”

No, no, it wasn’t me.

Honest.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears from Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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