Roadside Bumper Crop Is Fall Nuisance


The rampant display of campaign signs before election time annoys me, marring fall’s promising vista with clutter. The repetitive postings even offend my teenagers. I’m surprised because the kids often wear headphones as we ride (it’s odd that an audio stream can obstruct not only ‘real world’ sounds, but sights as well). I’m pleased because the girls notice these signs and voice disapproval over what we see as a disguised form of roadside litter.
Unlike the gardener who thins a spot where too many seeds sprouted, these planters of the commercial world are forever lost to excess. Rows of identical signs, grounded within a few feet of each other, defy the less-is-more concept that can ensure quality. If I’ve seen one, I’ve seen them all and, because I’ve seen too many, they blend into a meaningless blur to be ignored. How can one fully appreciate this most beautiful time of year without wishing campaign signs would disappear?
Such sign outcrops trigger the opposite response from me than what’s intended, begging me not to vote for the candidate with all the signs. I wish Ladybird Johnson would take this on as another beautification project.
Sad but true, it could be argued that many voters get their information on the road. Having little time to become informed elsewhere, this is the place to at least become familiar with who and what will be on the ballot. We all have to drive somewhere,and though the multi-tasks of driving and talking on a cell phone are hazardous, we have to be able to drive and read signs, don’t we? Reminiscent of the old Burma-Shave ad signs, the idea presents a great prospect for conveying information of all kinds. Heaven help us!
Some local governments attempt to deal with the clutter of election campaign signs by limiting the period in which signs may be posted and specifying times before and after elections during which posting and removal must occur. Although this may be criticized as regulation that interferes with our Constitutional right to free speech, the restriction of political advertising should (literally) go with the territory. When compared to, for example, a “for sale” sign on an item, both are selling something, true, but justifying time limitations to curtail traffic hazards (just plain distractions) and to promote aesthetic beauty is the least they can do to keep me happy.
Why waste my time wishing for just one year during “October’s bright blue weather” * that I might drive along roads free of pre-election paraphernalia standing out like bad weeds? They’ve become part of the American way. But I can dream, can’t I?

* Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem titled, same.

Thanks to all who sent in recipes for the upcoming cookbook. If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late. We need more!


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