Saturday, November 14, 2009

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Walking the dog around our neighborhood is usually a pleasant experience, and is demonstrably good for my blood pressure. But last night and today, I came back from our walks more exercised in mind than in body. Here’s what I brought home – one of many I tore off telephone poles on our street and three of the side streets. (And I’m not one bit sorry I did!)

What's wrong with this picture

What’s wrong with this picture?

  • Whoever posted it has a staple gun and access to a copier (and probably the Internet for the picture), but is sadly lacking in cojones. No name, address, phone number, or even an organization name appears anywhere on the flier.
  • I don’t want to seem alarmist or paranoid, but posting a picture of our President, dressed like Che Guevara, with such a simple slogan invites the question, HOW? I doubt this person has impeachment, lawsuits, or elections in mind.
  • Socialism? Please. If President Obama really had us on the road to socialism, he wouldn’t be getting nearly as much flak from commentators on the left as he is from those on the right.

I think the anonymity of these fliers bothers me more than anything. If you or I write a letter to the editor, put up a lawn sign, affix a bumper sticker to our car, sign a petition, attend a rally or speak up at a meeting, we have the courage to stand behind our convictions. The positions we advocate can be argued with; or jobs, our associations and our reputations can be used by others to judge whether they believe or agree with us. But when I and my neighbors see this poster, we don’t even know whether the person who put it up lives in our neighborhood, our town, or our state. We have no way of knowing whether the person is a high school dropout with time on his hands, a college student conducting a sociology experiment, or a nut with a gun who might start targeting houses where the car in the driveway still sports an Obama sticker.

This is the second time similar fliers have appeared in our neighborhood; I never saw the first set, which were removed by other members of our neighborhood association who felt they were racist and created an atmosphere of fear that we do not want in our diverse small town neighborhood.

Our local police, contacted about the earlier posters, said there was nothing they could legally do. I plan to urge my Council member to introduce an ordinance stating that all signs, posters, or fliers put up on the public ways must have visible the name and address or phone number of the person posting them. Anonymous hate- and fear-mongering has no place in this or any community.

(Lest my readers think I’m marooned in a sea of right-wing nutcases, let me hasten to add that I live in one of the most liberal districts of one of the most liberal towns in Maine, judging from our last two elections; and I also believe that most of the Republicans in town are people of good will and good sense.)

I can thank Mr. Anonymous for one thing, though. I didn’t have to rack my brains for something to blog about today!

1 comment:

Mompriest said...

wow! Stuff like this is so disconcerting....are we heading back toward McCarthism? Yikes...I fear for us...SO good for you for taking those posters down AND for making the request that all public material like this have the contact info of the person posting them. That's a great idea!