Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lawn Voting: Don't Tell, Didn't Ask

Eventually I came to realize metal lawn darts were a bad idea, but at the time they were popular and fun, and I understood how to use them. And they reflected the sentiment of the era in which I grew up (the 70s): Don’t impale yourself when throwing a weighted, steel projectile straight up into the air, then jumping out of the way at the last possible second of its descent. And walk it off if you do. I was also nine at the time.

I’ve never thought posting a sign in your front lawn declaring your political choice was a good idea; and it's definitely not neighborly.

I’m really enjoying all of the excitement around the upcoming presidential election, and the wonderful parody that comes with it. What I’m not enjoying are election signs popping up in people’s yards everywhere.

Voting is personal and private. When you head to the polls, you make your vote alone, without accompaniment or pressure, and with some form of confidentiality. It is a cherished right and privilege. Freedom of speech is also a cherished right and privilege, but it’s not an obligation.

I love macaroni and cheese. I don’t post it in sign form in my yard, or my window, or even on the bumper of my car. And if I did, it wouldn't be meant to taunt those who are carb-conscious or lactose intolerant, or simply love hummus more.

For my neighbors, I want to know how your procedure went at the hospital, how your daughter is doing in college, that "it's a boy!" or how your son’s soccer game went. I don’t want to know your politics.

Posting your choice of candidate(s) doesn’t inspire or influence the votes of others, including the undecided. It actually seems intimidating or, at a minimum, challenging – “That’s right, MF. I’m voting for so & so. I dare you to challenge me.”

If you’re into politics, or civic involvement, that’s awesome. Support your candidate. Get people registered. Offer your insights, opinions or anecdotes in the appropriate forum: political rallies, letters to the editor, public hearings, even a blog.

Sharing your vote or affiliation where it’s not invited doesn’t bring you closer to me if we’re aligned in our choice, and may even polarize us if we are not. So with all due (or undue) respect, please stop posting your vote on your lawn. It doesn’t count from there anyway.

No comments: