Driving around town has been a little dispiriting lately. The reason sounds a little silly: it’s those signs. You know, the red yard signs that proclaim TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY IN NOVEMBER.
These signs are clearly linked to Republicans—they’re invariably planted next to signs for Romney/Ryan, Justin Amash, and other conservative candidates—although I’m not sure if they’re part of any specific candidate’s campaign. But I do know that they seem to be everywhere. I pass several of them every day in the last half-mile of my drive home from work, and every day it makes me feel just a little bit tired and sad.
I find the message behind these signs depressing. “Take back our country”? Do the people who plant these signs really think they’re living in a country occupied by some enemy force? Apparently, the president wasn’t elected by fellow Americans in the usual democratic process; he (and those who voted for him) “took over.” Obama and his supporters aren’t human beings to argue with or campaign against; they’re enemies to be purged.
Who is this sign even talking to? Certainly not to Obama voters—they aren’t to be reasoned with; they’re to be overthrown by the “real” Americans.
And then there’s the obvious, uncomfortable racist undercurrent of this message, especially when it’s planted proudly on lawns in a predominately white city.
It makes me depressed just driving by these things.
Every election cycle, Americans seem to agree on at least one thing: politics is too nasty, too divisive, too graceless, too mean-spirited. Well, here’s one very simple, concrete way you can tone down the vitriol of this election cycle: step outside. Walk out to your yard. It’s fine to leave that Romney/Ryan sign up, or the Justin Amash one, or the Pete Hoekstra one.
But take down the one that says I HATE YOU.by