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October 10, 2010
Not much interest in politics in Detroit area
It's been a glorious few days in Metropolitan Detroit: sunny, cloudless, splendidly temperate. But a six hour drive out and back across the top of Detroit's nearer suburbs revealed something truly astonishing.
We're talking about one-third freeway, two-thirds surface roads through roughly two dozen separate smallish cities including Chesterfield, Mt. Clemens, Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe; and Centerline, Southfield, Oak Park to Farmington Hills; and on through Royal Oak, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley, Clawson, and Fraser.
A perfect day to do the miscellaneous chores and travels of daily life. Until, an hour into the drive blowing west on I-696 he turns and says: "have you seen any bumper stickers?"
The Better Half says: "not a one."
Something really wrong here.
Feels like a time warp for a minute. "We do have an election coming, right?" All the state wide jobs, governor, supreme court, all the state house and senate and every U.S. Congressman from Michigan. No bumper stickers? Zero, nilch, nada? The mind boggles. Is the brain working? Has this been happening, say two, four, eight years ago this close to a national election? Nah.
A memory from the '60 election, corner of Prentis and Second in Detroit. Hands full of brochures, leaflets, bumper stickers for that Navy War Hero, Fierce Cold Warrior and Slashing Tax-Cutter John Fitzgerald.
Then B. Sue, driving, drops this one. "No political signs either."
Scales drop from the eyes and look at the freeway sides. This is the time, less than four weeks before the election, when the kids and wackos come out with the political signs. They jam them into the freeway sides, access roads, public parkways. The municipal types truck around plucking them off.
Not a sign. Not a bill board. Zero, nilch, nada.
Is Sherlock's dog barking?
This led to five more hours of driving and looking. None of those little foot by two feet one post signs. Nor the three by three with two legs.
Or the bigger ones. The high cost huge billboards. Not one political sign anywhere. In four separate Congressional districts.
What is happening? Is this true elsewhere? All Internet and TV/radio?
At last, in Clawson a bumper sticker. Get closer. "My honor student..."
What is happening down in Detroit proper? Occasional trips in the last month or so call to mind scattered Obama stickers. They are mostly faded, perhaps one in ten of what you saw precisely two years ago.
There is one rule-proving exception. Get 20 miles north of Detroit and there are a few, rare, lawn signs. They're for probate judge, county commissioner, a state senator.
At last pulling into the little house on the St. Clair River in Cottrellville a bumper sticker on the Lady's aging Ford Ranger Pickup. It says "Bush/Cheney."