On the morning of November 3, 2004, political banners that were hung with unwavering pride were unceremoniously ripped from rafters in campaign headquarters. Lawn signs were removed, leaving behind grassroots attempts to persuade passing voters. Balloons, held aloft on hot air and high hopes, deflated after lofty victory or in limp defeat. In every town across America, on the day after the final push for democracy, a push broom quietly whisked away the flotsam and jetsam of Republican cheers or Democratic tears.
But perhaps the most poignant and personal post election gesture is quietly removing your campaign button from your garment. What fate will befall the Little Button That Could, the junk drawer, a box in the attic or, in fifty years, will it fall into the hands of political memorabilia collectors like Greenwich residents James Cassidy and Mary McNamee?
Heels will stack, hems will fall, but during election time, the lapel, no matter the width, is always in fashion. Be it overcoat or velvet frock, pashmina shawl or cloak, voters throughout the ages have sacrificed the perfect ensemble to affix a brooch of a different kind. one with a face or even a nickname of their favored political hopeful. The campaign button, since its introduction by George Washington in 1789, has managed to survive the marketing superhighway, be it the behemoth billboard, television or the Internet. This endurance is often documented and preserved in the homes of private collectors.
Jim Cassidy began collecting buttons at the tender age of eight in 1936 during the Al Landon and Franklin Roosevelt election.