The other day I was talking with a friend who was complaining about how somebody had vandalized a “Barack Obama for President” sign in the yard of his mother. At first, I wasn't all that sure if he was complaining about the fact that the sign was pulled up and smashed, or that it had been done within biscuit-throwing distance of his mother's front porch.
One block over, it was a “John McCain in 2008” sign that bit the dust... replaced with a toilet and a new message, "Flush the John in November."
Ah... isn't it nice to know it's a good clean political fight this time around?
I guess it should come as no surprise to anyone that the vandalism of campaign signs and posters takes place. I've just never really understood the value of the effort. Come to think of it, I've never understood the importance of the political signs themselves.
They make sense for the smaller, less media-crazy elections like "Lieutenant Governor," "State Treasurer," or "Assistant ‘Yes Man’ to the Mayor." But c'mon, with all of the news coverage and television commercials aimed at destroying the various candidates, are you going to tell me that a tiny yard sign is going to make a hill of beans difference in your opinion about whom to elect for President of the United States?
Apparently, yes. Personally, I believe the sign makers are targeting the "ultra-undecided" voter who will base her decision solely on which name she saw last before closing the curtains behind her in a small voting booth to punch the tar out of some guy named Chad.
So if the impact of a yard sign equals exactly diddlysquat (that’s a technical election term I don’t expect you to know), why spend any amount of energy to destroy one? Again, it must be those that believe in the power of those yard signs. In fact, I have personal inside information on this issue.
I know with some amount of certainty that anyone who believes in yard signs enough to show up at the political party's election headquarters and ask for one is greeted with open arms. "Welcome! Thank you so much for helping us with the campaign! Here is the sign for your yard, and two dozen more to place in your neighborhood, your office, and use to replace the opponent's signs in the middle of the night when no one is watching you. Here also is your box of Sharpie markers in case you run out of signs and must resort to vandalism. But remember, you're doing this as an act of patriotism. This is for God and country. Now, we never had this conversation..."
I'm doing my own yard-sign collecting now... stopping by the various offices of all parties to get as many as I can walk out with. Party affiliation or candidate is not important to me in the slightest. Why would I do such a thing then, you might ask? My reasons are many, but primarily, I believe that the more signs I have in my garage, the less chance one will get stuck in my yard without my knowing about it. The more signs I stock away in my basement, the less signs I will have blocking my view around street corners.
But the most important reason I have the signs is that this winter the fuel prices will be so astronomically high that I’ll be looking for something, anything, to burn in order to keep warm.
McCain or Obama: they’ll both supply a good amount of hot air either in the White House or in my fireplace.