October is a wonderful month, cool, warm, wet, dry, crisp and colorful. I was enjoying this marvelous gift of nature while I traveled home from work last Friday. As I passed Larry Williams’ McKim’s IGA grocery store in Mt. Vernon, Indiana I was reminded of another reason October is special. All along the Main Street edge of the store were signs of candidates for public office.
Large signs, small signs, red signs, blue signs red-white and blue signs. Off color signs, professionally produced signs and some that looked as if they were produced by a committee. They reminded me of that marvelous protest song from the Sixties, “Signs”, that was written by Les Emmerson and performed by the one-hit wonder group named The Five Man Electrical Band.
You may recall the lyrics: “Signs, signs everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind; Do this (vote for me), don’t do that (vote ‘wrong’)”. I love the ecumenicism of McKim’s policy on political signs. All shapes, colors and candidates are welcome. No office seeker nor any party is preferred or ostracized. This is democracy as it was intended.
Each election cycle I am cheered by seeing signs appear slowly but increasingly from about Labor Day to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The profusion of signs gives me the same good feelings Easter eggs and Christmas presents do. They restoreth my faith in our self-government.
Having put up political signs myself and having to take them down after a loss (not fun) or after a victory (no problem), I truly appreciate the spirit of public service that encourages anyone to run for a political office. People who have not done so may cynically believe others seek office for private gain or public acclaim. My experience is that most public offices pay not much more than minimum wage and require maximum ability to absorb unwanted and usually unwarranted criticism.
So, sign wavers and candidates, Thank You!, for being willing to serve in our citizen-controlled government. That’s the only way it will remain so.