Here’s an interesting twist on the whole business of posting political signs, a practice that you know I have embraced since 2018.
I hope the Post doesn’t mind my using the image above — after all, I’m using it to encourage people to go read the whole story, which is headlined, “Battling yard signs on a quiet corner in Alexandria.”
Anyway, obviously, I agree with the sign on the right. As you know, if I’m about anything, it’s about expressing oneself at op-ed or greater length, not via bumper stickers. And the collection of blunt, emotion-invoking blurbs in the sign on the left is definitely in bumper-sticker mode.
But it’s still not enough to make sure viewers understand what the homeowner is saying, is it?
Hence this passage from the story:
They started to wonder what that second sign, available on Etsy for $31.95, was supposed to say. Was it a direct rebuke of the idea that all were welcome in their community? Was it an attack on the messaging of the Democratic Party, which often uses such phrases as rallying cries? Or was it just trying to be funny?
Either way, many neighbors said, the dueling yard signs made public a sort of tension that is rarely articulated in an area proud of its understated brand of liberalism….
Speaking of that bit about “liberalism”… The contrast between the sign on the left and the one on the right helps illustrate a point I frequently make in passing on the blog, and which is frequently misunderstood. The sign on the left illustrates a “woke” approach — a “ones and zeroes” way of looking at the world, making emotional arguments that set up a dynamic in which one can conveniently condemn anyone who fails to agree 100 percent. The other is more of a “liberal” approach, inviting a dialogue that could, if one is optimistic (and liberalism is optimistic), lead to people on opposite sides of an issue understanding each other and maybe even finding some things to agree upon.
Unfortunately, in this case, there was no such dialogue:
The 33-year-old man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his privacy, said he moved into his townhouse on Oronoco Street in January and noticed the “Black Lives Matter” sign in an adjacent front yard. He worried it spoke for his property, too, and wanted to separate himself from the words that he felt oversimplified issues that should be discussed with nuance.
So naturally, he googled “political yard signs” and looked for a placard for his side of the yard. He found one on Etsy that perfectly expressed his beliefs, soon placing the “Simplistic Platitudes” poster on his side of the grass. He said he tried to position it as far away from his neighbor’s as possible — out of respect.
A few weeks later, the third sign appeared countering his reply, and the man realized his sign might have bothered his neighbor. But he said they never talked about it, nor did he ever try to engage them on the cultural issues he thought were better addressed in person.
“We didn’t talk a whole lot before the signs,” he said. “But I admit, I don’t think the signs were a positive step there.”…
Yeah, probably not. That’s too bad. Fortunately, the neighbor says, “we are on pleasant terms with our neighbors.”
So maybe there’s still time for talking to each other…