A Sign of the Times

October 27, 2008

Amongst the other seasonal displays in my yard I placed a new item last week. Added to the pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, mums, foam craft spiders, and glow-in-the-dark eyeballs, I placed a presidential campaign yard sign. In general, I find the signs to be obnoxious (are 20 signs on a 10 foot patch of grass really necessary?), a road hazard (can you say, “blind spot”?), and wasteful (what landfill will all that junk end up in anyway?). But I chose to post the sign and planned on keeping it as a memento of this historic presidential race.

My sign has seen better days

My sign has seen better days

But then yesterday, while my family was at church, someone pulverized my Obama/Biden yard sign. Ironically, the message of the sermon: Love they neighbor. Now, needless to say, I’m a bit peeved.

I know I am not the first person nor will I be the last to be vandalized in this way. To be fair, McCain/Palin signs have been disappearing from my neighborhood for months. And I’ve watched throughout my neighborhood as supporters on both sides have been moving their yard signs ever closer to their front doors in an attempt to preserve them. One neighbor, so tired of his McCain/Palin signs being stolen, left a little present for the next vandal — some sort of spray on his signs that gets on any surface it touches, hmmm … say skin, and smells like animal poo. (That’ll learn ’em, dern ’em!) Who knew I would need high-tech surveillance to protect a 26” x 16” piece of plastic.

Still, we were much luckier than some other supporters who have had signs burned in their yards and their homes defaced. Even political candidates and their families are not immune, and some vandalism has bordered on being a real threat. Recent stories in the news could have added fuel to the fire, but thankfully they were revealed as hoaxes.

While the experience was unnerving, my husband and I were able to turn it into a teaching moment for our preschooler about keeping your hands to yourself and respecting other people’s property, or toys in his case. Something else we’ve begun to teach him about is the importance of the vote. We take him with us every time we vote and talk about why we are doing it and why it matters. Pundit Mom shares some great experiences and reminded me about the Take Our Daughters to the Polls project to encourage parents and caregivers to share the electoral process with their children.

Messing up my sign is not a major crime, but the lengths some people are going to is ridiculous. Besides, what does it really accomplish? Was it an attempt at intimidation? Maybe. Was it just plain stupid? Absolutely. Will it change my vote? Nope. Rather than expressing themselves through vandalism, I hope that these folks will express themselves at the polls on November 4 by casting a vote rather than casting stones … at my yard sign.

By:   |   October 27, 2008


  1. hollykearl says:

    What a shame some people are so petty as to destroy other people’s political signs. I just hope people will limit their anger (or whatever it is that causes them to destroy another person’s property) to signs and not go after actual people! And I wonder how political signs will fare over Halloween, a day known for practical jokes and pranks.

    Thanks for highlighting the Take Your Daughter to the Polls initiative. I think it’s interesting that more women than men vote but more men than women run for and hold political office. So maybe the initiatives should be a Take Your Son to the Polls and Take Your Daughter on the Campaign Trail 🙂 AAUW is piloting a program called “Campaign College” this spring on several college campuses to encourage women students to run for office on their campus. I look forward to seeing how successful that program is and I hope that it can help launch many future politician’s leadership careers.

  2. Kimberly says:

    I pray that your calm response to this act of violence, will set the tone for your son (my nephew) for the rest of his life!

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