Now don’t get all jumpy at me. I just wanted to get your attention to what I observed. The title words here are what I saw on a pickup truck the day after the recent election.

I was first in line at a major intersection in town, waiting for the light to change. This older, white and rusty pickup truck passed in front of me, right to left. Wooden sideboards had been built on the box, topping out just above the cab of the vehicle. Those sideboards were painted stark white and covered with writing of all degrees of skill. Some of it was stickers, some stenciled on, and some hand painted.

But as the title says, it was “RICK NOLAN = HANOI JANE FONDA” stenciled across the top of the sideboards, and in the largest letters of all the writing.

My mind jumped up and down at the rare sight. Hanoi Jane Fonda? I mean, what an odd pairing. Yes, I knew all about that whole Viet Nam era thing in which the Hollywood actress visited North Viet Nam and was accused of bringing comfort to the enemy. Radical Jane Fonda. Feminist Jane Fonda. Controversial Jane Fonda.

But nowhere in my reference catalog in my mind could I find a connection between Ms. Fonda and Mr. Nolan. He had just been re-elected as the representative to the federal government for the 8th district, having defeated newcomer Stewart Mills by a small margin. I knew Mr. Nolan was older than me, so he probably recalled some of the same things about the Viet Nam era that I did. I knew he had served a different district in Minnesota a couple of decades back. But where did he and Jane cross their political attitudes? Beats the doggone heck out of me, save that Nolan is on the liberal side of today’s political spectrum and Ms. Fonda’s deeds were of a liberal ilk of that decade. It is the 1960s reference tied in with a modern-day election that is so puzzling.

I did not catch sight of the driver. Maybe if I were hypnotized, I could recall who was at the controls. I wonder who that person was.

Was it a grizzled old veteran? Was it a mother who lost a son in the Viet Nam war? Was it a person so caught up and obsessed with the behavior of Jane Fonda that he (or she) could even connect and blame the fluoridation of city water with Jane Fonda. Was it a gun rights advocate wishing merely to make a strong point? I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter.

This week’s election and the whole “Jane Fonda in Viet Nam” affair are separated by half a century. Is it out of hand to make this connection? We are told that we need to learn from the past – I’ve said that often and use that very idea in some of my political conversations. Yet, how far does one go down that road? Take a fifty year separation, and you could wonder what deeds of Teddy Roosevelt applied to World War II – or to keep it a closer parallel between Hollywood star and national policy, insert the name Rudolf Valentino instead of Mr. Roughrider. At some point, we gotta say “Oh, cripes, how silly.”

The driver has every right to display anything on the sideboards of that truck – go ahead. But then again, I have every right to type what I want to in this blog. So, with that in mind, let me say this about the white rusty truck with the interesting texting on its sideboards.

Oh, Cripes. How silly.

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