We'd like to think this election is like the ninth season of Dallas, and we're going to wake up and realize it was all a dream. Unfortunately, it's all real: the mock coffin processional, the real lists of killed soldiers, the debates over military service records, fights about who's allowed to get married, discussions on which candidate's daughters are the hottest. One day, when that faded "Re-Defeat Bush '04" T-shirt is in the bottom drawer on top of the "Gore 2004" one, we might even think of these days fondly. Maybe not. One thing's for sure: It will make for good history.
And that history isn't told through just texts and photos. Elections are marketing campaigns with T-shirts, buttons, banners and more, displaying your choice for the world to see. The Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University will show 215 years of campaign goodies during From George to George: Presidential Elections in the United States From 1789 to Present, which opens Friday. The exhibit is curated by SMU professor R. Hal Williams and Hervey Priddy, whose donation of his collection of presidential campaign memorabilia is the basis of the exhibit. It also includes borrowed items--from letters and books to cartoons and buttons--from the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of American Political Life, SMU's DeGolyer Library, the Amon Carter Museum and several local private collections.
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In addition, SMU will host several special events related to From George to George, including an opening reception and talk with Priddy and Williams from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and a continuing education course called The American Presidency: Fact, Fiction and Film, which takes place 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, September 14 through October 26. The highlight is the kickoff of the Tate Lecture Series on September 28, featuring Bob Dole and Al Gore--two guys who know a thing or two about elections that feel like bad dreams.