seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Minnesota Fair

What a day. Up early to walk the dog - then outside to take care of some landscaping type stuff for a few hours before the sun gets too intense. Today it wasn't as bad as I thought it might get.

Then I went the Macalester football opener against Beloit. Mac started strong, marching down the field for 6+1. Beloit came back strong, scoring 51 unanswered points until I left midway though the 3rd quarter. I do enjoy watching Mac play, and I think I got some good photos - which is why I was there, pacing the sidelines. Final score: 58-14.

From there, my sister Kim and I went to vertical endeavors, the local climbing gym for some rock climbing. We are practicing for our upcoming trip to New England to visit our friend Margot and do some rock climbing at Rumney in New Hampshire.

Following that, Kim, Adam, and I went to the MN State Fair. This was the first time for Adam and I. Kim was more experienced, having scoped out the famous pail-o-cookie stand previously. The Fair was everything people had told me...and being there on a Saturday night was a good first time.

The people watching was very interesting, the animals were fun to see, although they seemed fairly miserable most of the time - penned up in small cages with fans blowing on them. The food was fun - I sampled pita products, root beer, fries, cookies, strawberry milkshake, milk, and probably some other things here and there also.

Overall, the fair was a better experience than I expected. It was actually not over commercialized. Although vendors were all around, they have not really taken over every aspect of the fairgrounds. It was a comfortable place for an anti-commercial kinda guy. Minnesota really has some great fairgrounds.

Perhaps the coolest part of the fair are the free park and ride areas around the Twin Cities. You park and Metro Transit gives you a free ride to the fair. The fair subsidizes the rides so they don't lose money. In fact, they made a small profit last year after ferrying 947,000 people to the fair.

Of course, being an election year, there were a lot of political messages: shirts, pins, stickers, and booths. Seeing these, gave me an idea or two for a semi-rant. Warning: political rant type stuff ahead.

The first of two unconnected rants actually came earlier this morning as I listened to Air America. This concerns Bush's recent statement saying he doesn't think the U.S. can win the war on terror. Granted, he has since "clarified" his position on the matter, saying the war on terror is winnable and that we will win by staying on the offensive.

Many liberals, including the Kerry campaign, immediately jumped on this apparent flip-flop. As a side-bar, the Washington Post had a sensible article dealing with it. Liberals used this gaffe - clearly, Bush would have to change his entire philosophy to actually embrace this view - to exclaim that Kerry is clearly more qualified to defend the country because he believes we can win the absurdly-named War on Terror.

When Bush first declared the War on Terror, many on the left rightly decried it. Terror is a tactic - it is something people have used since creating government to influence government. It is not defeatable. What you can do, is lessen its appeal (I have recently written about how to do this). This is actually what Bush (accidentally) suggested: "I don't think you can win it ... But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

This was a great time for people on the left to stand up and say, "Yes! This is what we have been saying for years!" But, no, they did not. Many of them missed this opportunity because they are so blinded by their hatred of Bush (in exactly the same way the right wing hated Clinton) that they immediately saw something to beat him with rather than something to advance their own agenda.

I had been mulling this over more or less in the back of mind as I wandered around the fairgrounds. It seemed like a lot of people were wearing Bush/Cheney or Kerry/Edwards buttons. I started paying closer attention and figured that there were less than 10% of the people wearing political ads. This reminded me of a quote I had read somewhere by someone who noted that given the sad state of politics in the U.S., the only reassuring trend is that so few people actually bother to vote.

I found myself looking at people who wore Bush/Cheney buttons, trying to see if I could find a pattern. Same with Kerry/Edwards. Interestingly, I did find it hard to distinguish between the two - much like the candidates in so many ways - the buttons are nearly identical when I am not wearing my (quite minor) corrective lenses. I figure their positions on so many issues are so similar: occupy Iraq, ignore poverty, encourage policies that benefit the rich, why shouldn't their buttons be quite similar.

This is not to say the buttons should be the same. Afterall, while Kerry agrees that we should determine what kind of government Iraq has, he would not say, use it as an excuse to give no-bid contracts to Halliburton. Similarly, while Bush would encourage policies that despoil the environment for our children, Kerry would encourage policies that despoil it for our great-grand kids. So the buttons have to be a little bit different. Both must of course be emblazed with red, white, and blue because if you don't use these colors, you are clearly not as patriotic as those who do.

In the end, I could find no distinction between those who wore one button over the other.


Good piece. However, you have made a classic mistake that I think must be corrected. To quote you: "Many of them missed this opportunity because they are so blinded by their hatred of Bush (in exactly the same way the right wing hated Clinton)".This is wrong. Dead wrong. Most people who hated Clinton were paid to do it or made money out of doing it. It was orchestrated by the (yes, Virginia, it is true) Great Right Wing Conspiracy. It started with such warm and fuzzy operations like the Arkansas project. It was bought and payed for by a collection of right-wing zillionaires and pushed by their right-wing publications, foundations, and think tanks. It was furthered by a weak and corrupt media who liked the exciting charges and read-meat exposes because it allowed them to fill up their 24 hour cycles. This campaign was totally top-down, driven with a definite agenda.Contrast that with the so-called Bush Hate. This would appear to be totally ground-up; a grass roots campaign driven by actual lies, actual greed and the actual venality of the foxes who have been appointed to tear down the hen house, all orchestrated by a smug mouth breather who has never had to work a day in his life. Does this make a difference? I believe it makes the exact same difference that there is between killing a person who is trying to rape your daughter and burn your house down, and hunting down a stranger to rob and murder because of the thrill of it. In the long run, both people may be dead, but the culpability of the person doing the killing is obviously much different.