Saturday, October 27, 2012


ok, by now you may have deduced that i am home. i came home on tuesday 23 october, but i am still writing out a little ahead of my publish date but will be mostly writing about the recent past, but neither of you cares anyway, because you don't read me for current news.

anyway, there are a lot of things you learn about how people feel about a lot of things in an area when you drive around their neighborhoods just before elections, because you can read the signs.

i was driving for three weeks around towns in the adirondacks and then the finger lakes and i was able to make some general observations about political climate and the way people use those signs.

for starters, i notice that the more heavily a sign or collection of signs is printed exclusively in red, white and blue, the more likely the candidates supported are conservative republicans. i do not know why this is, but i think that base of voters expects it and considers anything else to be unamerican. it is kind of a code.

and also kind of a code is any sign that says "another family for" or "our family is voting" because even though liberals have families, these "family" signs are nearly universally code that indicates support for a candidate who believes wives should do as they're told. and you KNOW those candidates are out there.

image from shinagawa campaign
if signs are any indication, people across new york state are almost entirely apathetic about the presidential race, but they do care quite a lot about local races. these are pretty regular in the adirondacks, but they have some bigger issues on their plate in the finger lakes, and i want to talk about those.

reapportionment meant that some of new york's districts got redrawn, and the contest to fill the new seat in an oddly stretched out district that spans a bunch of counties is one people care about. i am purposely writing this post without looking up any of the facts just so i can tell you about my impressions based on just the signs.
image from sisters of charity new york

so judging by the placement and color of signs, nate shinagawa is either a moderate or a liberal running for that seat, and his supporters are densest in traditionally liberal towns, like ithaca and trumansburg and geneva but the farther out of town you get, the fewer of his signs dot lawns.

in central new york they are also heating up a battle over fracking and an LPG facility. i will want to talk with you later about those things, but it is actually these issues, from the look of the signs, that are splitting neighborhoods and making people the most angry. i would have stopped to take pictures for you, but it just didn't seem right to stop in front of people's houses to tourist snap signs of people's pain.

image from energy citizens
and then, out on the fringes, are the signs not FOR anybody, but against somebody. mostly those signs are against obama, like the one that reads "OBAMA vs. AMERICA" which i think is a little overblown, inaccurate, and represents a siege mentality. of course it was only one of many signs at the end of that particular driveway. i did not slow down too much to read all of them, because two of the others read "I'M THE NRA and I VOTE" and "YOU ARE BEING WATCHED ON SURVEILLANCE CAMERA". all the signs that guy had are much larger than the usual standard lawn sign and looked like they are mostly part of a year-round display so while i think that guy wishes to communicate something, i did not stay around to read all of his communications simply because i was afraid to stay there long enough to read the signs.

that amount of hostility is difficult to engage with and probably counterproductive to spreading his ideas, unless his ideas stop past the point of "i have guns and i do not like you". i'm going to take a flyer here and guess that this gentleman feels marginalized and unheard. i am goign to suggest that his method of communication is maybe contributing to his problem.

later on i will talk with you about gun rights (i'm in favor) and fracking (mostly opposed) and energy in general (flummoxed) and i will try to catch you up on pictures and parts of my trip and maybe even go back and catch you up on parts of trips i took earlier for which you STILL haven't seen some of the good bits.

ok, before i close this post i am now going to look up some things in it just to see if i can grab some images to illustrate it.

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