Playing Capture the Flag?

The acrimony of the current election season has created rifts between family members, friends, and strangers alike. Finger pointing between Obama and McCain supporters has become knee-jerk habit; neither side has qualms about assuming the worst with respect to the other. Yesterday, my local rag featured a small-scale example of this in its Letters to the Editor (here):

Letter A:

As I drove around my neighborhood recently, I was happy to see signs for both political candidates. I thought how lucky we are to live in a free country where we can have different beliefs but still get along.

Imagine my shock, then, when I got up recently to find the McCain signs gone from our yard and our neighbors’ yards. The Obama signs were not taken. But then I thought that this is a typical thing for liberals to do. They do not really want to have us all living in harmony (like they’re always saying), but have always and still do want to force us to believe the way they believe.

I guess they don’t realize that if we are not allowed to keep signs up in our yard that are different from theirs, then this is no longer a free country.

Letter B:

To the folks who are going around town stealing Obama campaign signs from yards: Friends, you are doing the right thing. Desperate times demand desperate measures, and you are clearly desperate. Of course, your childish vandalism will have no effect on the outcome of the election, which your candidate is on the way to losing.

In fact, having a campaign sign in your yard probably won’t have much effect on the outcome, but folks have a right to free expression, of which our yard signs are a form.

So what your thefts say about you is that you cannot stand free expression and that you apparently believe you have a right to interfere with others’ political speech. Why am I not surprised?


I’ve heard it said that the bond of shared experiences can help folks on opposite sides of an issue find common ground. Maybe that’s where we should be putting our campaign signs.

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2 Responses

  1. mike zimmer says:

    Talking with my daughter, a senior in college, last night, she told us that a kid had been caught on the ever present video cameras “keying” a car with a McCain bumper sticker. The owner of the car made the student contribute the cost of repairs — $900 — to the Republicans. Not a bad idea to help someone mature, I think.

  2. Quidpro says:

    The act of destroying or stealing campaign signs of opposition politicians is reprehensible. But, sadly, not surprising.

    The Federal Government has restricted political speech through campign finance reform legislation. There is renewed talk of bringing back the “fairness doctrine”. If it is acceptable for the Government to regulate political speech, why should the petty vandalism of yard signs surprise us?

    One of the delicious ironies of this presidential campaign is the distinct fund-raising disadvantage of John McCain, champion of campaign finance reform.