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Is Election Paraphernalia the New Christmas Tree?

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Whether your side claimed victory or conceded defeat, those of us who choose to publicly proclaim our politics to friends and strangers alike are faced with an odd dilemma.

How long should you leave that bumper sticker on, or leave that sign in the window? Do you trash the political t-shirts amassed over the course of the campaign, should you continue to wear them with pride, or are they headed straight to the personal archives for nostalgic and historic purposes? For many folks Kerry/Edwards support items have become protest signs, and for others not touching the Bush/Cheney ’04 campaign sticker is an ongoing opportunity to gloat.

While the amount of presidential election paraphernalia (not to mention state and local measures) flaunted around town was consistent with the emotional intensity surrounding the election, LAist found it to be uncharacteristically abundant for this city. Over the past few months, Angelenos proudly placed signs on their lawns and in windows, slapped bumper stickers onto their beloved cars, turned themselves into walking propaganda with buttons and t-shirts, and put other campaign-related materials on display.

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Campaign goods have become the Christmas trees of election year. At least some loose rules, however, dictate tree disposal etiquette. If ye ol’ tannenbaum hasn’t wound up in the trash bin by the first week of January, then you’re risking ridicule, fire, or both. This metaphor applies to the flammable political, social, and cultural climate, given the passion of both sides in our now clichéd yet truly "divided nation."

Some will choose to leave Kerry/Edwards goodies in place to mitigate the pain of defeat. Yet we still lack broader cultural outlets. Spaniards had the Barcelona team to rally behind in resistance against fascism following their Civil War. What other symbols do we have? You can only attend so many Bruce Springsteen or REM concerts, and it gets really expensive, fast.

A couple things can serve as small consolations. Historic perspective is one key element in nursing wounds. And the clever political wordplay that we've seen taken to new heights will undoubtedly continue over the next four years.