Guest column | Bob Ryan

Trash those political signs, please

Do you have a concern for our environment? Do you volunteer on Earth Day each year to clean up our roads and highways? Do you see examples of unsightly roadsides?

In the next 10 days or so, take time to look at the appalling landscape in our corner of the world. It is disgraced by one horrible stain of our society — the political signs.

Yes, pledges from candidates and threats of fines will remove most of them within days after the Nov. 6 election but, truth be told, in this enlightened age of television, radio, mailed and Internet promotion of every candidate from U.S. president to Mosquito Control commissioner, is this ancient method of advertising still worthwhile? Do you find opinion-swaying messages in those gluts of signs?

It is time to force the political genre into finding a way to end the yard and roadway signs and acknowledge that they are an anachronism of the past 200 years and are a boon only to those print shops that are enriched by the annual surge from candidates. Enlightened communities with leadership boards ban them; why not take that idea to county level?

Not only are the signs a blot on our landscape but there is a regular battle about sign destruction by opposition forces and the purchase of more signs to replace the savaged ones. Candidates and their followers spend hours in installation and guarding of their signs. It all seems to be a relic of a time gone by and I welcome comment from any voter who can honestly state that a "charming" sign somewhere on a local highway has fostered their ultimate decision at the polls. Is "Jane Doe" a better person because she erected more signs and larger signs?

I urge the chairpersons of all political parties in our area to become statesman-like, contact each other and in the name of our environment and this disgraceful use of campaign funds, enter into an agreement to cease signs forever.

Yes, some independent candidate in the future may still put up signs but it is reasonable to expect that after a few years of no signs, the candidate that uses signs will become a pariah.

An honest and cooperative effort by politicians and political bosses could also begin to create positive vibes for the parties in support of the idea. And an honest and committed and enforced agreement in our little corner of the world could create a ripple effect throughout the state and nation.

The best time to create change in politics is while the issue is front and center. Would you, the voter and sign avenger, be willing to force this idea on the political leadership? If they won't subscribe to this idea or dismiss it out-of-hand, they deserve to be singled out for their lack of concern for a worn-out approach and a disdain for our surroundings. Letters to the editor denoting shameful disregard by thin-skinned politicos who nix this idea might be become a ground swell of rebuke if one party boss agrees while his/her counterpart says "No."

Bob Ryan, formerly of Bayonet Point, lives in Spring Hill

Trash those political signs, please 10/27/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 27, 2012 1:02am]

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