23 October 2014

I Voted

My mom emailed me to say she'd gotten my "voter report card" in the mail and that I'd voted in the last three out of three elections. I felt a twinge of pride. Even if the sole purpose of one of those forays to the polls was to elect Dickson (i.e. KOP) councilman.

I am woefully uninformed on the world at large. Gone are the days when I can just sit at the dinner table and absorb my parents' analyses of current events. Now I'm too busy reading articles about biking, skiing, books, and music to ever check the news (except Ebola, which has reignited my lifelong and morbid fascination with plague). But I do hold a certain naive pleasure in being a part of the democratic process, maybe because the first time I voted was the first time North Carolina skewed blue since, oh, I don't know, Reconstruction?

Politics are polarized here. You can pedal through a neighborhood and tell who you might want to hang out with; it's easy to discern the Momo houses from the outdoorsy houses by the campaign signs. I went to the courthouse to do my civic duty and realized that by wearing a brewery hat, I had basically stapled a completed ballot to my shirt. Alcohol is one of those lines in the sand. In a recent battle to maintain Victor's ability to have beer sales at the lucrative summer concert series, the predominant argument against alcohol was that it "enabled child molestation". Of course.

The race for county commissioner is really important, my friend the campaign manager tells me. Fifty votes decided the last outcome. So many of the young people that flock to Teton Valley for the deep pow and gnar trails simply can't be bothered about the future of education and the economy here, even though it could very well impact our lives. The incumbent commissioner deals in shortsightedness, idiocy, cronyism, and aggressive anti-bicycle rhetoric. Some argue that anything would be an improvement.

I've gotten to know a lot of people who are a part of the Valley's alphabet soup of non-profits, maybe because involved, impassioned people often like to play outside. Weird. Regardless, I've never encountered such a fervent "us against them" attitude in local politics, but I suppose the dichotomy between deeply old-school Mormons and the influx of outdoor recreationalists is unusual. It's a battle between progressive, pro-education, pro-growth liberals and the stalwart, book-burning, regressive fundamentalists.

Tyler, to my bemused frustration, is a non-voter. It's odd because he's the one with a poli-sci degree and the one who used to have aspirations to be a city planner. He reads the local rag to raise his blood pressure and always rides his bike by the aforementioned commissioner's ranch to make a political statement. He had a Subaru and NPR upbringing in Boise's most liberal neighborhood. But then, as a native, he's well-versed in asinine Idaho politics and knows the futility of voting Democrat here. That doesn't change the fact that he should rally for the local race, but I think he's been harangued by one too many strident campaign volunteers who haven't spent a tenth the time he has in Idaho, and he is nothing if not a stubborn contrary bastard. To each his own I suppose...but that statistic of fifty votes still haunts me.

My intractable partner aside, I await November on tenterhooks because I do sincerely believe that local elections matter, as one who plays outside, as a local employee, as a potential future homeowner, dog-owner, parent, whatever (WHOA, words). Sometimes I like to pretend I'm an adult.

01 October 2014

Hey, You!

it occurred to me that some people post a blog every day, five days a week. fat cyclist, dicky, jill outside, goodness! i really struggle with that kind of output, to my mother's annoyance, but here's my blog post for today: if you only look at one thing on the internet, well, look at my blog. if you only look at TWO things on the internet, after you look at my blog, check out the a-line. bless their hearts, those little kids are making cool stuff.