Traveling about by bike provides a perspective that becomes more and more unique the more time one spends driving around in a car. For one thing the blind spot on a bike is just where you are not looking. Another thing is the comparatively slow rate of travel. Combined these two elements of the bicycling experience change the world into a place where one has time to see almost everything one is looking at. I think there is a metaphor in there that might be useful during an election year for a participatory democracy.
This is how I found my Bernie sign.
What one can “see” better while cycling can include conceptual connections laid by allowing the mind to travel over and over a bit of information. This is done with a partial focus that allows many competing perceptions to weigh in on what the final form of the mentally masticated idea will be. This soft mental focus is required by cycling as too much introspective focus increases the likelihood of catastrophically interacting with some of the more solid parts of reality.
I was a dozen miles away from home and a couple miles from the nearest house; biking along with a woman whose new acquaintance was yielding up the most interesting things. I was almost too introspective to see the corner of the sign in a dry drainage ditch several meters off the road. The sign was as far off the road as one might expect it would be possible to Frisbee a flexible political yard sign.
I unclipped and took the few steps into the tall grass needed to identify the sign as a Bernie sign. Someone had obviously taken the presumably pilfered sign and discarded it as close to the middle of nowhere as they could manage. I would return later with my car to retrieve it.
The primary portion of Utah’s caucus-primary system took place yesterday. Because of the overwhelming republican majority in the state the eventual general election winners are chosen in the republican primaries.
In one surprising race there may be a high-profile GOP nominee who is not the defacto winner of the general election. In the last general congressional election Mia Love barely (by 5 points) won a specially gerrymandered district after outspending her relatively unknown opponent by almost 8 to 1. Doug Owens is back for a rematch using the same effective “I am not Mia Love” campaign that resonated with voters; this time he may win. I do not like Mia Love at all, but I suspect many in the ultra-conservative district may not vote for her because she is a dark-skinned woman; this almost has me wanting her to win because people will not be voting against her for properly honorable reasons… almost has me wanting her to win, but not really.
The democratic primary nominated a transgendered candidate to challenge Mike Lee. Almost anyone would be better than Mike Lee, and Misty sounds better than most. One of two transgendered candidates named Misty nominated in the mountain west, she likely will be defeated by a slightly larger overwhelming majority than her cis-gendered white male primary opponent would have been defeated by. Mike Lee ran unopposed in the GOP primary because what I think does not really matter.
The stretch of road where I found the sign is itself a local political issue. It is the second most important cross valley road in Tooele, and it is in a state of severe disrepair. Two candidates for county commissioner came to my door in person to tell me that the road would be fixed because of their leadership; it was an easier sell for the fellow who was not the incumbent.
Political yard signs are a special class of speech. Destroying or removing them is a special class of illegal in all 50 states. In some states taking political yard signs could theoretically carry a five year prison sentence. One of the reasons for the first amendment is to protect the discourse needed to create the informed population that can responsibly decide issues with their votes. Sometimes a yard sign is all a person gets to say in the discussion, and throwing someone’s yard sign into a ditch out in the middle of nowhere is an attempt to silence them. Some people in Tooele obviously think that violating a person’s constitutional rights is an activity they are empowered to perform.
Bernie did really well in the Utah democratic caucus, but he will not be the democratic nominee, and so the message the Bernie sign expresses is no longer important. I followed Bernie here in the state, and even attended a rally with AYD. I will take the little yard legs off the sign and save it to remember the fact that he ran. If the Bernie campaign ever sends me the bumper stickers I bought I will put them all together in a box.