Political Litter Abounds

The political landscape is littered with signs. The colors change, the names change, but how many voters cast their ballot based on the signs screaming for attention?

The vacant lot near Vista and Targee is a breeding ground for those ubiquitous signs. (for you non-library types that is “ever present, appearing or found everywhere”)
Hawaii Voting.jpg

We like the Hawaiian style of political signs. You can’t plant ’em, but you can wave ’em. Some candidates get volunteers to stand on busy corners waving at cars and the guys after the male vote hire bikini-clad girls. WHO waves your sign is more important to some voters than what the sign says.

Back in Boise. How many of us base our decisions on the radio, television, or newspaper ads with smiling mugs promising “integrity, service, and honesty” for YOU? Did you ever find a red white and blue brochure hanging on your door knob and exclaim, “Wow! What a pretty brochure. I am gonna vote for her.”

How many times have you decided to vote for someone because they were thoughtful enough to make a pre-recorded call to your home just as you were sitting down to a romantic candlelight dinner with that perfect someone just before a moonlight walk on the beach?

On the flip side, the IDAHO STATESMAN (usually called The Daily Paper) gets kudos for a comprehensive Sunday presentation with the candidates profiles–in their own words–along with discussions of the initiatives. Worth the read if you vote. Dig out your Sunday edition or use the link at the right.

It isn’t all without motive of course. Much of the political payoffs the developers and big business make ultimately goes to the media folks in the form of paid political advertising. Then, in the course of the next four years we get to pay it back in the form of tax breaks, zoning changes, and more growth–all to boost the local economy. What a country!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Gosh Dave, it must be the `sign of the times`

    The good part is it tells us who likes to litter.

  2. The really scary thing is that all this junk works!! People DO vote based on the color, type, and frequency of signs. What a country!!

  3. GUARDIAN… you hit a sore spot!

    This is a Letterman top ten list from 20 years ago, but it’s timeless.
    (#6 is a personal favorite – truth in advertising.)

    10) Often indicted; Never convicted!
    9) I’ve spent plenty, and I expect to win!
    8) I will leave the governor’s mansion as clean as I find it!
    7) Some people say I look like Robert Vaughn!
    6) Building a better tomorrow for me and my circle of cronies!
    5) A man trapped in the body of a woman!
    4) A tradition of excellence; A hairpiece of quality!
    3) I reckon I don’t need no fancy book learnin’!
    2) I’m a walking time bomb!
    1) Let me at some of that tax money!

    Yep – the yard signs. The slick literature. The canned phone calls. Mostly with the same vague wording, promising more, but for less cost to the taxpayer than their (corrupt liberal) opponent.

    (The notion of bikini-babes waving signs definitely has some appeal… but it prolly wouldn’t fly for Bill Sali or “Pro Life” Richardson. Besides… a lotta goose bumps this time of year, at least in Idaho.)

  4. There is a sign downtown, right now, that says “Vote in Non-Incumbents, for a better America.” My opinion of such signs are they are preying on the uninformed voter. Hopefully people learn about the races and issues on their own and pay no attention to the signs on the way to polling stations.

  5. junkyard dog
    Oct 30, 2006, 2:22 pm

    great pics Dave….is it my imagination or has anyone else noticed that there seems to be more campaign signs and more campaign literature flooding our mailboxes than in previous years?

  6. Putting up signs is in the best tradition of American democracy: unruly, sometimes unsightly, of questionable value, but an enthusiastic expression of free speech nonetheless. As long as they are gone shortly after election day, no harm done. At least we see which candidates have the gumption and organization to get signs up.

    Voter apathy is a much, much bigger problem than political signs will ever be. Signs just make nice photos while apathy is intangible. For a real public service, show us some photos of the problem of 10 percent voter turnout.

  7. Wonk– There you go again pandering to the politicos! Those signs are as American as beer cans, cigarette butts, and McDonalds wrappers. It is still litter and just because you sell it doesn’t make it right.

    As for pictures of the problems with low voter turnout–just go to the city, county, state and federal websitesand you will find the INCUMBENT problem. Voters may just show up this go around and the elephant worshippers won’t like it.

  8. Well, if I’m not “pandering,” I guess I’m not as cynical, mistrustful and beaten-down as you are. I vote. I volunteer in my school and neighborhood. I go to night meetings after work. I love this city and this country and its processes. So I think the signs are great. In fact, I think a lot of things are great and I’m happy to live in a country where we have the freedom to put up signs and debate them afterwards.

    Is there anything that makes you happy? Anything at all?

  9. Wow, Wonk! You do get surly.
    I find it amusing that you say you’re happy to live in a country where we have the freedom to … debate them afterwards. But when Mr. Logic does just that, you resort to insults (“cynical, mistrustful and beaten-down”) when you disagree.

    With that kind of logical argument, you should be running for office. Or maybe you are? Are you really Jim Risch?

    As for the signs — I don’t give a hang one way or the other whether they put them up. I don’t pay any more attention to them than I do to the ones that say buy Marlboros or whatever. However, I do think we should delay revealing the results of the election for a week — and each candidate loses 10 votes for each of his or her signs that is not taken down by then.

    I also find it amusing that in races in which there is no opposition to an incumbent, huge signs saying vote for (the incumbent’s name) appear. Duh! Like we have a choice.

    Yeah, many of the signs are kind of ugly, but not so bad as some of the alleged architecture around here. Did y’all see the big photo in The Daily Paper the other day about somebody being honored for designing a shoebox? Hmmm ….

  10. Well, I think the large number of signs is an optimistic “sign” that lots of people care about this election. I voted today at the election site on Barrister and there were really a lot of people there.

    I agree with the Guardian that only a moron would decide his/her vote on the basis of a sign posted in the ground on a busy intersection. The positive side, however, is that it might remind some old addle-headed or absent minded folks that there is an impending election.

    Or is it a bad thing to have people vote who do not know who or what they are voting for? Well, probably, but the American Way does not exclude the uninformed. I think that a good turnout will be a good thing for the community because it might actually put the good folks in office. (However, if Bill Sali wins I might get drunk and stay that way for the next two years.)

    I think there should be a small fine against candidates who don’t remove their signs within a week or so. P.S. If Ms. Ullman would like me to help pick up her signs after election day, I will be more than happy to help. Good luck!!!

  11. NuclearShadows
    Oct 31, 2006, 5:48 am

    Have you heard of the Vote for These Boobs, Not for These Boobs campaign?

  12. “I also find it amusing that in races in which there is no opposition to an incumbent, huge signs saying vote for (the incumbent’s name) appear. Duh! Like we have a choice.”

    You may not always have a candidate, but you do have a choice. You are not required to vote for every position on the ballot. If you do not support the incumbent, and there is no challenger on the ballot, you can simply skip voting for that spot. May not be much, but there is an option besides blindly voting for the incumbent just because thier name is on the ballot alone.

  13. I agree with Treva on the “fine” idea about signs left to become litter. I do think it should not be a small fine, but a large one. Although do you think you will get the ones putting up the signs voting to fine themselves? I really feel the signs are great, they just need removed by the candidates, not the highway department at our expense.

  14. Hey Treva, if you need a ride after you get drunk, let me know, and we can pick up signs.

  15. curious george
    Oct 31, 2006, 10:42 pm

    Now if only we could ensure that the fine wasn’t financial (a too easy way out), but a couple of mandatory days on a roadside clean-up crew wearing an orange jumpsuit and using a port-a-john hooked to a trailer.

    Where’s my camera…

  16. Hey, Jack, you know not what you ask for. I am really not a very pleasant person even when totally sober, so we will not likely be picking up signs together. My husband would probably prefer my second choice, in the event of Sali winning the election, which would be to move to another state. I think it is quite kind of you to offer to help, however. Isn’t this a fun blog site? I really like old Dave. Regards.

  17. What is the psychology here? The majority of the candidates who have put up the most, largest, and most colorful signs, are the hardest to reach by a constituent that has a real problem.

    Just like those running for Wash,DC’s congress and the senate they’ll spend money lavishly and fill the air-waves with their political tripe- then a day after all the incumbents get back in, it’s as if their non-existent. American government on a national and local government has hit a new low; money, hype, and pathological lying by our politicians has taken the place of representing the people and keeping our country as it used to be ” the land of the free, the home of the brave.”

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