“Reduce sewer and water rates. Vote for Merle” read a sign straddling the fence on horse and sheep properties on the corner of Bombing Range Road and Van Giesen Street in West Richland.
My drive in the morning from my house to my kid’s daycare is lined with farm animals. Cows, sheep, horses, alpacas, you name it. It also has pretty eye-catching signage (because I haven’t looked at one of Miami’s flashy billboards lining the expressways in a long time).
The Baptist Church wants me to “Stop Saying Sissy Prayers” and the Fire Station asks me if I “Wanna Burn.”
My drive to and from daycare is much like the cereal box you stare at and read every morning when you’re munching on your bowl of breakfast cereal or that mesmerizing copy on the bottle of shampoo you read with fresh eyes every time you lay down for a bath.
I read every piece of writing I encounter on my drive. Every morning.
Comforting, routine everyday local media. Always there to offer up something to read when you don’t have time to finish One Hundred Years of Solitude or Atlas Shrugged.
Most recently, due to local elections, my path has be lined with election signage. Yay, new things to look at!
“Merle for Mayor” was the first to catch my attention.
Before I Googled “Merle for Mayor West Richland” I knew very little of Merle. All I had was the white sign with red font that plainly stated “Merle for Mayor.”
It has a nice ring to it, I thought. The words flowed nicely out of my tongue. No frills, no fuss, no fancy artwork. It’s just “Merle for Mayor” and your imagination.
I imagined a rugged individualist, a no nonsense businessman with a cowboy hat and a grey oversized blazer. A keeper of tradition, a man of faith cautious of untamed progress, a lover of horses and sheep.
Rural, rugged, rabble rouser.
His sign stood out more than Tony Benegas (running for Senate) or Brent Gerry (also running for mayor of West Richland), because it was so simple.
“Merle for Mayor.”
When I sat down to actually research Merle, my instinct was pretty accurate. Just like his physical sign, his website is monochromatic and static.
Merle Johnson: Born and raised in Michigan, three years in the army after high school before studying agriculture. A lifelong farmer, a business man, previously on the weed board.
“I am not going to promise you the moon.”
“My vision is small government, reduce sewer and water costs.”
Because in small government these are big issues, people.
The physicality and permanence of these signs out in the analog world create community and ideas by just being there.
I favorite, like, and retweet a lot of things in the virtual world. My inbox is full of things that I signed up for that I don’t really want anymore. We all consume crazy amounts of virtual media and information on a daily basis.
That is why “Merle for Mayor” is so soothing when he accompanies me on my morning drive.
Do you have any signs, buildings or objects that catch your attention on your morning drive?
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