As most who know me here well know, I am a cyclist. I am not a professional cyclist, but I love to ride my bike, and not just for fitness. If my riding is going well I can also been seen jumping into the races, as well. Prior to my (rather catastrophic) crash on Feb. 17, I was riding exceptionally well and planning on contesting the state road race championships here in June.
My crash had me off the bike for 3 months (I feared it would be 6), and I suffered a great deal of muscle mass loss in the interim. I have now been back riding for a little over a week, 9 rides, 105 miles total, and though I am very weak, physically, I am just delighted to be back out on my bike, on the roads I love!
While I can’t ride as I am accustomed, my joy at being back out there is accompanied by one of my greatest pastimes, thinking about things while riding. I think about everything in my life, and almost everything has a political connection of sorts, a way of using it in political discourse.
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Living in the South, I fight conservatism and its artifacts every day. I fight for the votes of those I ride with, even if that isn’t explicitly discussed, even if the prospects for the next election (or the next four) are not promising. I will get some of them over time.
One of the things I have in common with most cyclists is sensitivity to road conditions. Poor quality or damaged roads pose a significant threat to our safety. A moment’s inattention can lead to a very bad fall. Potholes, grooves, a crumbling shoulder ... all represent real dangers to those of us on two wheels.
Since much of my riding is in neighborhoods close to my house, there are some roads I know very very well, and I can tell when new damage has occurred to those roads. Almost always the damage is caused by very heavy equipment being driven over those roads for the purpose of developing new properties and building new houses. Vehicles with heavy equipment can cause damage in days or weeks that a fleet of Corollas or Honda Accords could not cause in 50 years.
What is the significance of this? Well, politically, we see countless examples of ways in which taxpayers ‘foot the bill’ for people who (in the opportunistic minds of conservatives) do not pay their share. Yet, when people they don’t regard as political adversaries cause REAL damage that taxpayers have to cover, people like owners of construction companies with very heavy equipment for example, they say nothing. They’re fine with that.
They play on political jealousies and contempt, and cultivate it further toward their political enemies, but turn a selectively blind eye to their own inconsistencies and hypocrisies. They pander to their portion of the electorate as if they stand up for them and their taxes, even if there are no problems facing the society that they really care to solve.
Of course, we know better. And, as best we can, those of us in very red states make the arguments one by one to illuminate the hypocrisy and the myriad inconsistencies. I care about every vote. And that I cannot win that vote in 2012 does not cause me despair.
Thank you for reading tonight! And special thanks to Steveningen for formatting all the comments and doing the tops! You are the best!!!