Over the holidays, I went up north to the San Francisco Bay Area. As usual, driving up and down the state proved to be an interesting political lesson. Even more so this time.
When I drove up Highway 5, which goes through the Central Valley, the agricultural hub often called "the salad bowl of America," I got an eyeful (as opposed to an earful) of anti-government anger. In recent years, there have been a few signs claiming that the U.S Congress has created a "dust bowl" in the Valley. This time, there were dozens, if not hundreds, seemingly at least one every few miles. In addition to the dust bowl signs, there were signs condemning Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, the U.S Senator from California, as well as signs saying things like "No water + no jobs = higher prices."
Who put up all these signs? I wondered. The Valley looked pretty green to me, and I was reminded of all the outcry against federal power from Tea Party types that lead to the many Republican victories in the recent elections. Except that California is still solidly Democratic.
I also noticed that I wasn’t seeing any anti-abortion signs. I have usually seen these when traveling on Highway 99, another freeway running up and down the Central Valley. Whenever I saw these, I felt like I was suddenly in some Bible belt and that it would perhaps be better if I was invisible - or at least not so loud and rainbow tie-dyed.
While I was up north, I told my dad that I would probably not see such signs when I returned home down Highway 101, which runs closer to and sometimes on the California coast. I was right - I didn’t. As my dad suggested, it looks like it’s all about geography and demographics.
Something to learn, indeed.