Don’t Destroy or Deface Candidates’ Political Signs

Don’t Destroy or Deface Candidates’ Political Signs

(How NOT To End Division in Addison)

Susan M. Halpern

Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)

Please don’t destroy or deface the political signs of Addison candidates. Even if you don’t support a particular candidate, harming other people’s property is wrong. We learned that in kindergarten, didn’t we? And yet, we have a mayoral candidate encouraging residents to deface his opponent’s signs.

As they say, you just can’t make it up.

Start here: I hope and believe that all candidates for office in Addison seek permission before placing yard signs on someone’s property. I encourage all of you to make the same assumption.

So, may I respectfully suggest that if a mistake was made and a sign was improvidently placed on your property, that you consider handling it in a neighborly manner. The candidates all have web pages, and their emails and phone numbers are easy to obtain. Take a moment to advise them of the error, and I’m certain they’ll promptly remove/retrieve any sign mistakenly placed on your property.

Given my belief that what I’ve described is the appropriate way to handle errors, I have to say that I was absolutely stunned to read that this mayoral candidate in Addison is now encouraging residents to deface the political signs of his opponent and others whose election he opposes. This is based on the unsubstantiated suggestion that unauthorized signs have been place on property in Addison.

I’m appalled. Beyond the obvious impropriety of encouraging destruction of other people’s property, it sure feels like a cheap political stunt. Let’s unpack it and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Start with the premise of the encouragement to deface signs, which is that a political candidate has supposedly placed political signs on someone’s property without permission. Think about that for a moment. If such a thing happened, it would likely irritate the property owner. In turn, that would make it less likely that the property owner would vote for that candidate. So why would a candidate do that? There’s just no percentage in it. Given all that, I submit that the premise of the call to deface signs is without merit.

But let’s go beyond the flawed nature of that underlying premise. This candidate’s suggestion is that these supposedly aggrieved property owners should deface the offending sign and then place his sign next to it. I guess in his mind, it gets him a “two-fer:” a sign in support of his candidacy and an attack on his opponent, by way of the suggestion that the defaced sign is proof that his opponent placed a sign there initially without permission.

Here’s the problem. It just isn’t that hard to get your hands on a sign for this candidate’s opponent. And, deface it. And put it anywhere. And to then falsely claim that it is now proof that the other candidate’s sign was improperly put there in the first place. When it really wasn’t. I can’t be the only one who thought that anyone willing to think this crazy scheme up in the first place might be willing to do exactly that.

Here’s my bottom line: Inciting Addison residents to deface other people’s property is shameful and outrageous.

This is NOT how we end division in Addison. But you know how we CAN bring Addison together? WE THE PEOPLE can VOTE to reject such rhetoric and reclaim the Addison Way.