I have just noticed that my neighbor has a political sign in his yard supporting a candidate I find appalling. Is it ever all right to vandalize the signs?
The Gay Perspective: Absolutely not! That is a violation of free speech. Vandalize his car.
The Layout Artist says: If you neighbor has put up a sign in his yard, chances are they are just as fervent about their candidate as you are. The sign is still their property, and vandalizing that sign is still destruction of property. If you are really looking to make a stand, I would suggest you fork his yard. Forking is the practice of sticking hundreds of plastic forks into someone’s yard, tongs in the dirt. This isn’t destructive (it actually aerates the yard) and as long as you wear plastic gloves and don’t get caught on tape, it is very hard to catch the culprit or charge them with trespassing. Not only will your neighbor have to go around and pull hundreds of forks out of his yard, but, until he does, everyone who is against the candidate will have a good laugh as they drive by.
Ruthless says: Of course it’s “all right,” provided you can do the time if you do the crime. If you are that fervently opposed to this political candidate—let me guess…your neighbor is “Mad As Hell, Too?”—then you will be wiling to risk possible arrest, fines, and jail time to assert your opposition to your neighbor’s lawn display.
So go for it. You probably won’t hurt anybody but yourself though. Such things only give credence to what would ideally be unworthy of anyone’s attention. Perhaps there are better ways to make your feelings known? I suggest subtle mockery—a terrific form of harassment—instead of outright vandalism. Every time you see your neighbor, make some derisive or facetious comment about his sign. Or his hair. Or his car, his decor, his wife…his momma?
The Sales Guy says: Interesting question. We do live in a democracy and any person who is a citizen and not convicted of a felony has the right to both run for office as a candidate and support and vote for the candidate of their choice. A neighbor’s lawn sign should be protected by law as well as by moral and ethical grounds. The idea of choice in an election is what makes our republic function. We are not a banana republic and we should act accordingly.
However, that being said, everything I wrote is out the window if a Nazi, Neo-Nazi, or any candidate preaching or advocating hate, racism, or the overthrow of our democracy is the cause of your concern. In which case, have at it.
The New Girl says: I have faced this same dilemma as of late. My first instinct was to take the sign down but upon further reflection I have decided to put my creative energies to use instead. Got any good ideas? Let me know! I like to think of it as “artistic enhancement” rather than “vandalism.” Does anyone have any horse stickers?
The Straight Skinny: Political sabotage is a graceful and ancient art, as is the use of graffiti as a tool for social commentary. Sure, the sign belongs to your neighbor. (Or to the campaign. I can never remember how that works. But someone is responsible for taking it down when the election is over.) But so what? Is our self-expression to be so completely imprisoned by our worship of property rights?
Just remember that the permission I’m granting you to deface or destroy the sign cuts both ways. If your neighbor decides to set fire to your now dated “Mike Kuzma for State Senate” lawn sign, he’s got the same defense.
Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to firstname.lastname@example.org comments powered by Disqus
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