New politicians do their best to spin themselves into a bright future, while journalists frantically scrabble to unearth murk from their pasts. The public craves a steady stream of old photos, whiffs of scandal, and evidence of long-ago held affiliations, hoping for insight into this new mind that might suddenly hold sway over so many others.
Most of the blogs I read are apolitical, but this past couple of weeks, two usually apolitical bloggers I like came out with posts related to two pretty high-profile politicians hailing from their necks of the metaphorical woods. I liked getting a dash of the perspective from a pair of smart, thoughtful writers on how their hometowns might have shaped the two vice-presidential hopefuls.
He was raised in the same city I was, which is about the size of your pinky. He graduated from the Catholic school right behind the McDonald’s we went to. Our “city”, and believe me when I tell you that I use that term loosely, is economically and racially diverse in a way that I have rarely seen in any other city I’ve been to that wasn’t a major metropolis…. It’s an interesting place to be from, if for no other reason than that you cannot be a racist, or a classist, or an elitist in any way unless you never ever leave your house.
I drive through Wasilla a lot. It’s yuppieville. The impression that most non-Alaskans seem to have of it is, well, wrong. It’s basically part of the big big city that is Anchorage (the rest of us call Anchorage little Amerikkka, because it is so different from the rest of Alaska in every way that we don’t even think it belongs here – we are elitists) but set off to the side by about forty minutes. It used to be kind of quaint, but now it has McDonalds, Home Depot, Lowes, Fred Meyers, KFC, Arbys, etc.
OK, no more politics. While we’re here, let’s talk some more about this blog- it’s one of my favourites. The writer is Tara, who grew up on an Alaskan trapline and has the moccasins to prove it. As an adult, she lives in a van (well, I guess I should use past tense, since last week she bought herself a plot of land) and drives (drove) all over the US & Canada with her dog, working mostly as a nekkid dancer and making herbal tinctures and playing the dulcimer and traipsing around in rivers to lecture fishermen who overfish the salmon and then poaching wifi from the parking lots of hotels to blog about it all. I really like her writing- especially these articles (text is NSFW, images are fine for work on the pages I linked, but if you start indiscriminately clicking around on that site at work, I take no responsibility if your boss sees you looking at something that isn’t a spreadsheet, ok?).