A Time of the Signs
Great Falls is in full bloom.
From law office liberals…
to “Any Republican will do”…
until November 4th, rectangular biennials abound on Great Falls’ boulevards.
Some homeowners mix tulips with roses: this yard touts a Democrat for the Montana House and a Republican for the State Senate. Who lives here–the Lockhorns? A blatant advocate of political gridlock? A relative of one candidate, who (not so secretly) accepts the ideology of the other? A cagey voter who wants a foot in both camps, just in case?
Here’s a cheeky conservative. The homeowner on this busy one-way has an early blooming placard: along with local Republicans, he’s endorsing Joe Biden, the perceived weaker Democrat, for president. Maybe he’s going to show up at the polls a year early, just to vote for Joe.
A privacy fence can feature home-scrawled sentiment, but if you spot a hand-painted campaign sign, it ain’t gonna be from no Democrat! It’s ironic that the party that supports small business can put up signs they spray-paint in the garage, but the artsy folk across the aisle have to shell out for posters that bear the Union bug.
If your house is for sale this fall, good luck attracting attention. For Sale signs are visual flotsam amid all the campaign placards.
It takes chutzpah to put a political sign in front of a business: You won’t see signs at my office–instead of pissing people off before they come in, I prefer to alienate folks face-to-face.
Still, it’s interesting to see who supports whom, and to guess why. When a law office endorses a Supreme Court candidate, it’s hard for passers-by to tell if the decision is based on solid cross-examination or a leveraged analysis of someone’s bottom line.
The owners of this motel lean to the right; even though there’s no room in this hotel for a Democrat, he can hang out ‘on the fence.’ I’m pretty sure Norman would not have been welcome here if his last name had been Bates.
I used to have a tiny paper sign taped on my door: “Proselytizers & Politicians Unwelcome.” If I agree with you, your time is better spent convincing others. If I disagree, I hardly think I’m going to have a Come to Jesus moment on my porch, unless Jesus himself hands me a campaign brochure.
Hmm. What would the neighbors think if I put up four or five of these in my yard:
I am poking fun, but I have three good reasons to dislike yard signs. First, increased name recognition does nothing to inform. Zilch, zip, nada. Second, the presence of political signs on the yards of people we respect lessens our accountability in the voting booth (Jane likes her, she’s got to be good, right?). Third, I don’t really want to know that I am philosophically isolated in my own neighborhood. I’d rather imagine camaraderie when I smile and wave instead of envisioning the re-loading operation across the street.
This mid-term election, please ignore the signs. Consider our deeper struggles, the social and environmental issues, the state of our one-strong-rail/one-weak-rail economy, and the ability of those politicians whose signs are plastered all over town to do the job…before it’s ‘sign season’ again.