20 August 2016

The Mechanic and the Bumper Stickers; On Cultural Isolation

I broke the axle of my truck.

Turns out, even though the truck model is very popular, and the company made parts interchangeable for many years before and after mine came out, mine just so happens to have one of the rarer weight capacity and gear ratio combinations, which means if I replace it I will most likely either not be able to haul as much or I will lose MPG on the highway.

There is only one place I could find in the area that rebuilds axles, so I removed the wheels and hubs and took the axle to them.

The city of Hayward, where the gear shop is, is two cities south of Oakland, CA.  Oakland, which is the next city south of Berkeley, and across the bay from San Francisco.  This is where Gavin Newsome, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Lee are from.  The center of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the gay rights movement, and the birth place of the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter.
It doesn't get much more liberal than the Bay Area.

But, see, I was heading to a gear shop, a place that rebuilds transmissions, axles, and transfer cases, primarily for big trucks and off-road vehicles, plus the occasional hot-rod or classic car.

I was expecting a couple of middle aged to older white guys.  I would not have been the least surprised if they ranged somewhere between conservative and libertarian.

But I sure didn't expect this:

He comes over to the car to help me lift the truck axle out of the trunk.

"Is this your car?" he asks

"Well, yeah" (technically its my fiancees car, but I think he is just verifying we are at the right one)

"Obama Biden and Bernie Sanders!?!?"
He is looking at her bumper stickers
"What are you, high!?!?"

He seems almost more shocked and confused than offended...

I laugh, "this is the Bay Area, it can't be that rare"

And he says, with what seems like total sincerity: "I have never met anyone with a single good thing to say about those people"

Wow.  How does that happen?  But then, when I think about it, I realize that the equivalent is probably true for a lot of liberal leaning people I know.
The internet doesn't count, and yelling at someone on the other side of a protest rally doesn't count either.

Maybe I'm just lucky.  Bicycling and an interest in science had me end up exposed to extensive conversations with a libertarian professor in college.  Taking a security guard certification course (originally as a joke!) ended me up eventually talking to people with strong feelings about the 2nd amendment, as well as occasionally working with police officers.  I joined the Coast Guard, in which all I do is search and rescue missions, entirely domestic, rarely any guns on board, but technically it is still the military, and the people I work with have been transferred there from all over the country.  But all my own friends and family are well to the left - though with plenty of very different manifestations, ranging from anarchist all the way to communist.

I think it helps have a better, more independent perspective to at least be exposed to all the different sides, on a one-on-one personal level.  I do certainly think some perspectives are much more right than others, but there is at least some degree of truth in most of them, and rarely 100% truth in any of them.

Maybe someday we could have mandatory government facilitated integration of schools and neighborhoods by political ideology...

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you ask a question, I will answer it.

NEW: Blogger finally put in a system to be notified of responses to your comments! Just check the box to the right, below, before you hit "publish"