Driving from Seattle to the North Cascades last week, I saw few signs of the presidential elections, and most of them were in just one spot: a towering monument to Trumpism. There were a few other lone Trump and Hillary signs, and nearly as many Bernie signs still standing, but not as many as I expected for post-convention August.
On the return trip, while driving through rural Snohomish County, far ahead of me, I saw a beat-up grey Chevy pickup stop in the middle of my lane.
A moment later, a passenger jumped out, ran round the rear end, and dashed across the road, disappearing into the field to my left. It was a hot day, and from more than half a mile away, the blacktop’s heat-distortion made the runner look like he had been drawn by R. Crumb. The pick-up stayed put in my lane. Seemed odd, and I slowed down, wondering what I was getting myself into.
A few seconds later, the passenger returned, running back across the road, carrying something big enough to make his running awkward. I was now within a few blocks of the scene, and as he made his corner around the back of the pick-up, I could make out what he was carrying: a big Trump sign, which I then remembered having seen planted on that field a few days earlier. He tossed the sign into the cab as he climbed in, pulling the door closed, as the driver spun them away in time to be no obstruction to me.
My first reaction to this incident came from the ACLU-card-carrying part of my head, thinking, in my USA, everyone has a right to expression of their political views, however repugnant — and nearly everyone must know by now how repugnant and reckless Trump is, even those who feel compelled to vote for him come hell or high water.
My second thought was less patriotic: Theft or not, vandalism or not, those country boys may have been looking for their way through this particular national nightmare, and if this act gave them any relief, amen to that.
My third thought was more pragmatic: These boys might simply be entrepreneurs, collecting Trump memorabilia while it was still easy pickings, since market indicators point to diminishing availability of such materials as the Donald continues to feast on his own feet.
Major league politics in the USA has not been this ugly for a long time, which will tend to suppress voter turn-out, potentially leaving the choice to the ones who revel in squalid ugliness. Don’t fall for it. A lot is at stake and if neither major party candidate suits you, pick one of the minor party candidates. Follow your instincts. The only wasted vote is is the one not cast.