A Day at the Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the world’s grand spectacles. It goes on for 12 days at the end of the summer, concluding on Labor Day. One year my wife and youngest daughter went ten times. My own appetite for the fair is more modest, but today the three of us attended. It was a gorgeous end of summer day, and the crowd was huge.

Food and drink are important parts of the State Fair experience:

We walked by the Midway area, which is full of horrifying rides that I wouldn’t go on if you paid me:

We experienced such unique fair art forms as butter sculpture:

Politics has always been a part of the state fair experience, especially in even-numbered years. Interestingly, I didn’t see a single Obama sign, button or anything else. I think the Democrats have largely given up trying to feign enthusiasm for their candidate. The political activism we did see was issue-oriented. Thus, the AFL-CIO building–it’s a building, not a booth–featured a “Tax the Rich” theme, while a group of actors performed a sort of radio play in which the word “Bolshevism” was featured prominently.

I approached the young man you can see in the photo and asked for his definition of “rich.” “Everyone has his own definition of ‘rich,'” he replied. I know, I said, but I want to know the AFL-CIO’s definition, the one they are referring to in their signs. After a little back and forth, he told me that any household with an annual income above $142,000 is rich, pointing to the sign next to him, where such incomes are depicted in scarlet numbers. I asked him whether he seriously believes that everyone with that level of income is rich; he said Yes with a straight face. I told him I am rich by his definition, and the last time I ran the numbers, I paid 43% of my adjusted gross income in federal income taxes, state income taxes, self-employment taxes and Medicare taxes. I asked whether he thought that was enough. He seemed taken aback, but allowed as how 43% seems like plenty. Nevertheless, he spent the rest of the day peddling ignorance.

Most of the political activity we saw related to the two constitutional amendments that will be on the Minnesota ballot in November. One requires a photo ID for voting, and the other defines marriage in traditional terms. We saw more “Vote No” t-shirts, etc., than “Vote Yes,” especially on marriage. No surprise there; the liberal side of such issues is always better-funded and better-organized. Nevertheless, poll data continue to suggest that both measures are supported by most Minnesotans.

We have written before about Crop Art–art works that are created by gluing seeds of different colors onto a background. One might think that such a traditional-sounding craft would have a conservative bent, but no: the seed art displayed at the Minnesota State Fair is notoriously left-wing, having in past years included images of Che Guevara, Paul Wellstone, etc. For some reason, conservatives apparently lack the urge to express their political philosophy in seeds.

Sadly, this year’s crop art was as left-wing as usual. Moreover, unlike past years, several of the left-wing pieces actually won ribbons. Maybe that was because the overall quality of the seed art was down this year. This one depicts two gnomes who are, I take it, gay. The “Vote No” refers to the marriage amendment. Note the yellow ribbon:

This one seems like a lame effort, but it too appears to have won a ribbon. It equates voter ID with Jim Crow. “Seriously? It’s 2012” As though voter ID were somehow old-fashioned:

This one echoes the Republicans-are-fogies theme. The seed artist has her Democratic Party talking points down; note the “Ayn” and “Rand” on the tires:

This one was the “Senior Crop Art Reserve Champion.” You can see it is better done than the others, but its theme is political, at least in part: “Vote NO once, Vote NO twice, let’s keep Minnesota nice! …and vote NO on voter ID!”

So evidently voter fraud is “nice.” And it isn’t nice, presumably, when you have to show identification to buy a six-pack or board an airplane. Oh, well. We are all used to liberals making bad arguments; the difference is that in most places, you don’t see their bad arguments in seeds.


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