It’s almost election day. Time for a little sign round-up, and a look back to see how far we’ve come.
Back in 2019, I was stopped at a red light near the commons, where a group of earnest people were gathering to protest climate change. They carried signs saying things like “I speak for the trees,” and the rally leader started up a syncopated chant about striking because the waters are rising.
Stopped next to me was a whiskery old man in a pickup truck full of rusted out auto parts. He chewed on a sandwich and watched with great interest as the crowd clapped along with the chant. It came to an end, everyone cheered, and the man in the truck shouted, “WATERMELONS!!!” Then the light changed and we all drove on.
I yearn for those days. I yearn for that clarity, when we were all able to receive each other’s words, look each other in the eye, shout, “WATERMELONS.” And then just drive away.
Unlike Watermelons Guy, Trump Thumbs Guy did not listen. He did not shout. He did not drive away. He just sat there with his thumb inert, telling you all you need to know about China Joe. And look where we are now. (I actually don’t know. I have been using all my effort not to pay attention.)
I also have an album of additional signs and other public displays from medium-weird New Hampshire from around this time, as follows:
You could spend an afternoon trying to parse exactly what is meant by “NO” in quotation marks AND inside a “no” sign, and that’s even without the “CHINA” “JOE” “CONTROL” “MAN” aspect of it, not to mention the little snowman.
There was another sign at a different intersection, making the same point in a more concise fashion:
I realize this is superimposed on a Biden sign, but it’s also in keeping with the general feeling of the area, in and out of election season:
Whose woods these are, I think I–NO.
Take that, Robert Frost.
Speaking of in and out of season, this area also sports an unexpected snowmobile
and about fifteen minutes down the road, the town commons had not only a nativity scene and a giant Hanukkiah, but also various other displays, because somebody read a thing about the constitution on Tumblr one time
This display was soon joined by a Festivus pole and something that was either some kind of other pole that was either a frickin Wiccan thing or else a Quiddich thing. I did not slow down to ask questions.
possibly because the local police reminded folks that no matter how noble your cause, it is still illegal to go in someone’s yard and set their signs on fire. We are just coming out of a drought, so we have that going for us.
I always read the little rebuttal sign in a squeaky “kangaroo in her pouch” voice, and it helps a little bit.
I’ll tell you what doesn’t help: Running late to pick up a kid at one school, getting to the other school to find that everybody’s already left and the one kid you did manage to get is HUNGRY and the only car cookies left are Nutter Butters, and so over the sound of her howls, you voice text the only kid with a phone and ask her to find the others and meet you at the library instead, and when you’re on your way there you suddenly realize you’re supposed to be at a third school watching a third kid at soccer practice, and then you see this:
With God as my witness, the man is 52 years old and I thought he could arrange for his own ride.
Speaking of rides, a few local citizens are signaling in their own way that the candidates this election are somewhat wanting, and maybe it’s time to write in someone who actually represents who we are as a people today. Someone like, um, Larry Dickman, or *sigh* Bertha Butt.
We are not okay, guys.
Not sure whether it’s better or worse that the next sign is from a real candidate:
These ones tend to show up in clusters, which is disconcerting because of the eyes. I did go to the website, and I did not get any clarity on any of it, not “I Want To Rule You,” not the cat eyes, and definitely not the chameleon. I find it alarming that this dude raised enough money to buy more than one or two signs. He also has this version, same guy:
“Death is not the worst of evils” is not a campaign slogan I have seen before. I agree with it in principle, but he’s a 2022 libertarian, so there is a 10,000% chance he would finish the sentence “death is not the worst of evils” with “but age of consent laws are!”
But, he notes ON THE SIGN, “I’m serious.”
My only question is, what the hell.
Next we have another new sign that it grieves me to admit I understand:
Aria DiMezzo is [gathers strength] a local trans anarchist libertarian recently convicted of laundering bitcoin through a fake church of Satan . . . look, just stab your finger into a random page in the Big Book of Stupid Ideas, and you’ll get the gist.
That’s not rain on the window, it’s tears of exhaustion.
But wait! It’s not just the far right and the moronic middle who are terrible! Everyone is terrible! This is a sign I have to pass by at least twice a day, sometimes four times, and each time, my desire to punch someone increases:
I don’t even disagree! I mean I’m pro-life but I’m super duper in favor of holding men accountable for making babies. But this freaking sign is so STUPID and it thinks it’s so CLEVER. Gah. Imagine lying in bed and this phrase pops into your head, and you think, “Ho ho, that’s a corker!” and then you wake up in the morning and YOU STILL THINK IT’S A GOOD IDEA, and you actually go and find two colors of paint and a paintbrush and a piece of poster board, rather than punching yourself in the head like you should. WATERMELONS, I SAY.
This house has since added a sign urging people to vote because it is almost “ROEvember.” GET IT????????? You can just feel them wriggling with delight over their own exquisitely barbed wit. Gah. You know what, I have a prescription for Xanax and I never filled it.
As a palate cleanser, I enjoyed the forthright nature of this message I recently found stuck to a guardrail in a parking garage:
I don’t imagine it will change anyone’s mind, but on the other hand, if everyone already knew it, we wouldn’t have any Nazis. But we do, so.
But most of all, I liked this sign.
“JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER.” In this photo, the man who stands there with the sign is just setting up for the day, and you can see the giant wooden cross he is about to put up next to it. He just stands there with the cross and the sign. What else is there to say?
He’s set up in the same spot as the Trump Thumber used to be, and for a while, I tried to convince myself it was the same dude, and that he had massively upgraded his hero. But I’m pretty sure it’s a different guy. No matter. I wave and beep whenever I see him, because I’ve had a lot of questions in my life, and let me tell you, this man is correct. Between him and the watermelons, that’s a whole-ass political theory right there.