Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things that make me grumpy

Yes, it's election season in America, again.

My international readers likely think this only happens every 4 years, when we elect some poor sucker to be President. But we have mid-term elections every 2 years. And there's pretty much some local election 1-2 times a year, for mayor, or dog-catcher, or dirt lot inspector. Or we're voting on some proposition to raise/lower taxes or build/not build a school/landfill/baseball stadium. Voting is a way of life here.

I have nothing against democracy. But it has a dark side (not including the politicians).

I HATE all those damn signs that start to show up on street corners and vacant lots this time of year. By the boatload. They seem to spring up overnight. And never come down.

It's the last part that really drives me nuts. Months after an election is over, the signs will still be up. The winner is too busy to take them down. The loser is too depressed to do the same. And so they sit there as an eyesore, until it's time for the next election. Then they get pulled down by the next crop of office-seeking idiots.

My political career is limited. When I was 12 I ran for treasurer of my 7th grade class, and lost. I don't think I ran a very good campaign. For that matter, I really don't think I knew what a treasurer did. I honestly have no idea why I did it. I suspect it had something to do with recently having noticed girls (in retrospect, I don't think the class treasurer got the chicks).

But my school had a damn good rule about elections: The winners wouldn't be announced until every damn sign was gone. Granted, I know that's impractical on a nationwide scale, but there's got to be some answer to deal with these eyesores. Why can't we restrict it to signs can't be up more than 30 days before and 30 days after an election? Violators will be fined/disqualified/sterilized.

On a side note, I strongly believe in the political theory proposed in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" that anyone who actually wants to be President/Prime Minister/Chief Goombah so badly to run for the office is automatically too insane to hold the job. We need to find a way to identify the person who is least interested in the job, and then put them in charge. Just don't let them figure out what they're really doing.

29 comments:

Joleen said...

I hate the signs too. I think they're an international phenomenon. Here in Ireland the green party got in and brought in a law that they had to be taken down within 24 or 48 or something hours after the election. The reason I'm not sure how many is no one really paid any attention. And you really can't beat politicians who don't bother to obey their own laws.

Also - I might not mind so much if they weren't uniformly ugly. Hot politicians with abs bursting at the seams might be ok.

And Douglas Adams was right about most things, as it turns out. Genius.

Popgun said...

How about if we passed a law that all political signs had to be made of biodegradable materials designed to dissolve in a couple of months?

Sarah G said...

I'm one of those people that plant the signs. When we take them to people, they're supposed to recycle/trash them after the election... but you've seen how well that works, Grumpy.

If I plant signs at road junctures, I do go by after the election and get rid of them. I might pull up a few extra ones just for you guys in November.

office manager / satan said...

For national elections at least, signs are legally supposed to be removed within 24 hours after the election. The DNC really emphasized that to us at the last Presidential elections and said that they would be fined if the signs weren't removed.
Signs in general are ugly.

The Mother said...

Plato's philosopher kings are just the ticket. He even thought women were capable of holding office.

Too bad he was so down on sex.

Sandra said...

In Scottsdale, Arizona, they have a 15 person inspection team that goes around the city and removes improper signs.

Most signs around my area are supposed to be removed within 10 days of the election, but that is not always enforced. Our primary is next month and the signs are out of hand already.

What they need to do is remove the signs (after the election), if the campaign doesn't, and charge the candidate for the cost of removal.

Anonymous said...

Our local EMS/rescue was hosting a fundraiser and we didn't have the money to have lawn signs printed, so we just went around and pulled up all the outdated ones that prior events and candidates had failed to retrieve...and we re-used them. So, in this case, their negligence helped us. Not that this isolated event excuses them, but as they say, it's an ill wind...

Anonymous said...

Since we just finished the primaries the signs for those chosen to run for an office (and selected) are now just really early ads for the November election.
The stakes they use to hold up the signs are useful for tomato and bean plants in the garden.

Margaret/Heather said...

Here locally there are pretty decent fines that are given to the person named on the sign if they're not removed within a certain amount of time after the election. Exceptions are folks' yards who just want to keep them up, of course. That happens occasionally but really, that's just like self-marking the insane around here; it's so nice of them to label themselves so you know to give wide berth.

Anonymous said...

Around here, there's a bounty on the signs, so people go around and collect them after the election. It's pretty rare to see them after the fact.

Tanya said...

All the signs left more than 10 days after a campaign should be pulled up, deposited on the offending candidate's front lawn, and burned. His neighbors would have a nice bonfire to enjoy and he would have a nice reminder for his next campaign..

Mickey said...

Forget philosopher kings and forget finding the person who least wants the job, I have the answer that will fix American democracy.

All elected officials must, at the end of each term of office (whether they run for reelection or not) face a gauntlet of anyone that voted for them. These citizens are free to attack the official physically without any fear of criminal prosecution.

The official will be permitted to make a speech to the Constituent Gauntlet before facing it, and address any concerns their electors have before submitting themselves to the mercy of the people who elected them.

Anonymous said...

There was a businessman in Chicago who would pay kids $0.10 a sign (or something like that) when I was a kid. It was a paltry amount by today's standards, and it wasn't all that great back in the early 80s, either. But it cleared up some of the signs.

me said...

I love Popgun's suggestion! The blasted things are worse than graffiti, and should be taken down within 24 hours of the election being called ~

Anonymous said...

The signs bother me too. But the most annoying are those running on a platform of environmentalism. One of the candidates for mayor in my city gave a speech that basically said, "My goal is to clean up the city's garbage and support initiatives that encourage recycling and reusing."

Nope, none of his signs were made of recycled materials. They were double sided, made of plastic so can not even be reused.

Anonymous said...

Once the elections are over, local police collect those they find while on patrol and use them for range practice.....

Anonymous said...

Ah--"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"--one of my all time favorites. So comforting to know that "42" is the answer to life, the universe, and everything! Really takes the pressure off--:-)) CP

Anonymous said...

I remember reading some claims after the 08 presidential election that Obama signs being taken down were "buyer's remorse". Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

KateA said...

Whenever people want a dx without diagnostics, I generally mutter "42" under my breath. Most of the techs don't get it. However, the tech that wrote the admitting complaint for "Yoda," the chihuahua, was "Attacked by cat was I" got it.

danielle said...

My idea - about the political signs as well as all the garage/yard sale signs that never get taken down - the 'owners' are easily identified. After a 2 - 3 grace period, the cities ought to fine those who do not take them down. At least it would be a way to fill the town coffers again!

Ben S said...

Also bumper stickers.

Sparky Barksdale said...

We do in fact have the Dr Grumpy law in my town...signs up 30 days before and 30 days after, and that's it. Including people's lawns. Maybe you should move here.

On second thought, maybe not. You have no LP trays in your office and you're lazy.

LaLa said...

I personally love the signs. I use them (after elections, natch) to make Halloween props. The wire stands work great with styrofoam tombstones, and the actual signs themselves are usually the corrugated plastic stuff that is weatherproof and lovely for various projects.

And yes, I realize that Halloween is a ways off, but if you do a full on yard haunt, you have to get building the props early. I revel in my weirdness, and the neighborhood kids adore our house. :)

Love the Hitchhiker's reference too.

Mugdha said...

Completely agree. I say we make it cool for teenagers to steal them after elections instead of road signs and leave it up to nature.
Love the Hitchhiker's reference

Captain Foulenough said...

You can't have a post like this without the ghost of Ambrose Bierce doing a walk-on:

"POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive."
--The Devil's Dictionary

Janet said...

What really annoys me about those signs is that I see them from afar and mistake them for garage sale signs and get all excited.

Which brings up another point. Like campaign signs after the election ends, garage sale signs should be removed as soon as the sale is over. I think there should be a steep fine, and maybe jail time, for those who leave garage sale signs posted long after the sale has ended.

Ezekiel said...

I get really annoyed at adverts that don't actually have any direct effect. Like perfume adverts on TV. Selling a smell through a visual medium is madness.

Selecting your next local/state/national leader because of a sign is madness too.

It is a waste of resources, time and distracts people from actually researching the issues and making an informed decision. So in my world, no adverts at all.

megpie71 said...

In Australia, we have some fairly solid laws about the duration of election campaigns (maximum of 6 weeks between the calling of the campaign and polling day), the day our elections are held (we opt for a Saturday polling day, as at least that way the schools are available for use as polling stations) and also some nice rules about how close to the polling stations the advertising can run (I think it's 100m, although I'm pretty sure the sitting member in the last electorate I was in had a problem with their tape measure on that one). It does mean we tend to avoid the worst of the perpetual campaigning problem you folksen in the US appear to have, although the reduced amount of time between election years (every 3 years for federal elections, rather than every 4) means we wind up with an effective government only one year in three (first year is clearing out the debris from the previous mob, last year is spent clearing the decks for the next election, so serious governing only happens in year 2 of a 3 year term).

Our next Federal election is scheduled for some time around November this year at the latest, but could be any time from now until the end of 2010 depending on where the ALP (the party currently in government) finds themselves in the polls.

Denise said...

I read one book where the president was selected by lottery. Anyone with a criminal record was disqualified and the current president was considering committing a crime to get out of the job. :-D

 
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