Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Lay off My Yard Sign...
. . . .

Lay off My Yard Sign...

Harley Sachs - August 19th, 2004
At first I thought it unlikely that after so many months of campaigning, the voices of electioneers could get even more strident. Unfortunately, it’s getting even more nasty and personal. A woman wrote to our local paper complaining that three of her yard signs for George Bush were stolen, which is against the law. I was given a yard sign, too, by a local party activist, and now it, too, has disappeared. Let’s analyze that action.
If the person who destroyed my political yard sign disagreed with my choice of candidate, he or she had an equal opportunity to put up a sign of his own. We all have a right to political speech, even over the top political speech as in “Hang the president!” That kind of excessive language is actually protected by a Supreme Court ruling (within limits -- you may be investigated by the Secret Service for threatening comments or death threats. - ed.).
To enter my yard with the intent to destroy my political sign piles offense upon offense. First, it’s trespassing. Second, it’s malicious destruction of property. The sign wasn’t simply stolen in its entirety, but destroyed, the wire frame being left behind in the grass where it might have been caught in my lawn mower, causing great bodily harm and a lengthy lawsuit, should the perpetrator have been caught. The first two acts are mere misdemeanors.
Third, by removing my political yard sign the trespasser was infringing on my constitutional First Amendment rights to free speech. If I want to erect a sign that says elect Nader or Osama bin Laden I have a perfect right to do so, as long as I don’t violate city ordinances about the size of the sign or illustrate it with prurient images.
Infringing on my constitutional First Amendment rights to political free speech is a serious matter, especially when it’s on my own property. It’s an act against the Constitution itself. The person who invaded my property and destroyed my sign is in effect claiming the authority to say I do not have the right to express my opinion publicly.
I don’t know if that person is a U.S. citizen or not. If a citizen, to take such an open act of defiance of our Constitution could be seen as an act of treason. This is no laughing matter. When my wife became a naturalized American citizen she had to swear to bear arms to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Native born Americans don’t take that oath unless they join government service.

Though native born, as a veteran of the U.S. Army I had to take that oath.
Does this mean I am committed to shoot whoever trespasses on my property to deprive me of my constitutional rights to political speech? The NRA might say so, but we have a local ordinance against firing a gun inside the city limits. Should I miss the sign stealer vandal, I might hit my innocent neighbor, so shooting is out. I do not recommend that people act as armed guards defending their yard signs for any candidate.
However, I urge readers of all political persuasions to remember that the Constitution, which some enemies would undermine and destroy, guarantees your right to publicly support or oppose the political candidates and parties of your choice. For all I care, you can put up a sign that says “Alfred E. Neuman for President.” Just leave my sign alone.

 
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