Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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