A Facebook acquaintance posted a picture on the timeline of an influential Portsmouth political action committee recently. It shows a well-known residential property that has hosted a variety of political signs over the course of many election seasons with the owners’ current selections. The caption supplied by the person posting was the time-worn saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. The inference I drew from this commentary was that sign proximity indicates personal affinity.
When I was working my way toward my bachelor’s degree, one of my history professors impressed on me that the work of a historian is to “question/complicate” the accepted narrative. It is a charge I have accepted willingly and not exclusively in the realm of history. In that vein, I feel compelled to offer the following:
Surely, the signs in someone’s yard convey how the householder feels but not necessarily how any one candidate feels about the others. Not to make excuses for Candidate Rowe, but I can attest that his signs were present on that patch of ground many weeks before the T-P [Trump-Pence] (a fitting abbreviation) sign appeared. We have heard that politics makes stranger bedfellows; it can make for even stranger “yardfellows”. My signs share space with those of some candidates whom I do not endorse or support, and I expect those folks may feel similarly regarding my signs. The exception, of course, is what sits in my own yard; you can believe no one has a sign there aside from the people I want to see elected! The bottom line is that in America people get to make up their own minds about which candidates to support. If we believe in democracy, we need to respect our neighbor’s choices, even if we disagree with some, all, or most of them. Sir Winston Churchill provided us this food for thought: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Not very long after writing a very similar comment and sharing the posting to a few other FB group timelines, the original got yanked from the host site. When it did, my comment also disappeared. Fortunately, I had saved the text in a less “vulnerable” location and was able to post it here. I believe this is a discussion that deserves to run its course and am, therefore, providing it a new home. You are welcome to weigh in.