I’d know that even if I didn’t work at the local paper. Heck, I’d know that if I lived in a hole in the ground and just emerged to go to the grocery store.
The signs give it away.
Yes, of course, I’m talking about those signs scattered, with ever increasing frequency, all along our county roads.
They’re in clusters at intersections, in fields and in some yards. Some are big, some are small, some are plain and some are so colorful and fancy they almost obliterate the name they’re trying to advertise.
But what do those signs really tell us, besides the name of a candidate and the office they are seeking? Though I guess there’s something to be said for name recognition, I hope most of us put a little more thought into who we’re voting for than just that a particular name is one we recognize from a road sign.
As I drive around, reading these signs, I wonder if the people who own the property are staunch supporters of the candidate (or candidates) whose name is emblazoned on their lawn, of if they were just too polite to say “no” when asked if said sign(s) could be put there.
I wonder how the folks running for the seats in question feel when they see one of their opponent’s names in someone’s yard, particularly if that person is someone they considered a friend. I’ve asked a few of them, who say it does hurt their feelings, of course. It would surely hurt mine.
I’d be wondering what I had done, or had not done, that had offended them. The answer to that question, more often than not, is probably “nothing at all.” They just like the other fellow better, or not. Could be they’re not even going to vote at all – someone asked if they could put up a sign and they said “sure.”
Then again you have to be tough-skinned to run for office in the first place, I guess.
I don’t like the signs – can you tell?
Granted, were I a political candidate, I might feel obliged to put up a few, especially if my opponents were hoisting their own signs all over the place. It’s an ugly and unfortunate custom. They litter the countryside, competing with nature’s finest for attention.
But the worst part to me is that they divide the community unnecessarily. After all, if your neighbor is for candidate “X,” and you’re for Candidate “Y,” putting signs in each other’s faces is not likely to win either of you over to the other’s point of view. So what’s the point?
Since working for the paper makes me feel obligated to stay neutral, at least publicly, I can easily justify not putting up any candidate signs for that reason. But here’s the thing – I wouldn’t put them up any anyway.
I wish the signs would simply go away, along with many other things that are part and parcel of the political season.
I know these signs are a form of free speech, but please be conscientious enough to take them down the moment the election is over. And candidates, please make it part of your civic duty to go around and collect those that bear your name. For many, that means the signs should be plucked from their respective places and discarded as soon as possible following the primary on July 15.
But, cynical me is betting there’ll still be quite a few around competing with Christmas decorations.
Margie Richards is a reporter and officer manager for The Madison County Journal.