As October takes a bow to November, everyone’s favorite spooky time of the year once again returns. Costumes abound, little children are given sweets to indulge upon and, everywhere, people are scared.

Yes, midterm elections are almost here – and they’re far scarier than Halloween could ever be.

These two special days, however, are remarkably similar. The masks that our politicians wear are coming off – the likes of Marc Foley, Dennis Hastert and George Allen have all been exposed for what they really are. Suddenly, the candy that we thought was so great is losing its taste. Those promises we keep hearing have indeed been stripped of their flavor.

And yes, we are all scared.

Yet of all the election atrocities that have occurred this year, the one that occurred Tuesday has stepped into the lead – above “Macaca,” above would-be little boy touchers and above the Speaker who tried to protect the would-be little boy touchers.

You may not have followed the activities of Michael J. Fox much after his departure from “Spin City,” but others have. If you have not yet heard, the right-wing MVP – the Most Viciously Pompous Rush Limbaugh, recently blasted Fox for an ad in which Fox was shaking very visibly due to his Parkinson’s Disease. Fox has been a very vocal advocate of stem cell research and a staunch Democratic supporter. According to the Boston Herald, “Limbaugh claimed that Fox was ‘either off his medication or acting’ during the ad. Limbaugh also imitated the trembling Fox, which was captured by the studio’s Web cam.”

It brings back the days of Bill Frist giving his professional medical opinion on how Terry Schiavo was still doing super (hey, anyone remember that whole Terry Schiavo thing?). How badly does one want the Republicans to win that they will resort to viciously mocking the man who has done more for Parkinson’s Disease than anyone I can ever remember?

We have officially obtained a new low in election cycles. I pray to God that no children are being exposed to this dialogue, either. Otherwise, who knows? Little Timmy might start distracting the local ADHD-afflicted neighbors with bright, shiny objects just so he can laugh at them. Don’t get me wrong – it’s really fun to do that – but it’s also obscenely juvenile and irresponsible (and no, I do not get my kicks going around distracting kids with nickels and pocket watches).

To some extent, I am almost glad Limbaugh is such a terrible human being, along with select political actors – it inspires me as it should inspire you to do something with our lives that will help fix our system. I believe in fighting for change like that. I think it’s something Fox believes in. And his life’s work has shown that it’s not a fruitless effort. As the great Samwise Gangee once said: “In the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

Brenneman is a member of the Class of 2009.

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