Rednecks and Their Signs

It's easy to get disheartened about the state of the American political landscape driving up I-5. Every farmer between San Diego and Seattle seems to have a bunch of bombastic right-wing nonsense up on big signs, taking advantage of the fact that they're the only people with a reason to own property adjoining an interstate. "Get the US out of the UN," "Produce the Birth Certificate" (i.e. the horseshit about Obama not being a citizen), all manner of evangelical Christian crap, etc.

Living in St. Johns, we're right across the St. Johns Bridge from one of Portland's industrial areas off of Highway 30. Portland itself is a very blue-state, center-left city, but its industrial zones are a clear exception. The same kind of demagogic rhetoric is all over the place over there - the one I noticed today was a state congressional candidate whose sign promised "less government" - always a vacuous, disingenuous, and pernicious claim catering to the room-temperature IQ crowd.

But then, it occurred to me: the thing about the right is that being angry, confrontational, hyperbolic, and mendacious is a central aspect of its political identity. The point of left politics (dumbass anarchists with spraypaint cans aside) is REASON, thinking about things carefully and considering how one's own outlook is conditioned by perspective. It's predicated on a fundamental sense of fairness, of justice, of how the world could be if people renounced their own selfishness in the name of a higher ethical calling. Thus, for the most part, we don't put up big angry billboards; that's not who we are.

The trick is knowing that we're out there, that just because the right has the sound and the fury, we're the quiet, smart, thoughtful people who occasionally carry elections.


Chica said...


kungfuramone said...

Oh, come ON. Who the fuck are you?