Do campaign yard signs work?

Campaign Yard SignsPerhaps what I really want to know is how they work. Front yards bristle with these things leading up to any election (local or national). So they must work at some level but I can’t get my mind around how.

The obvious explanation would be: The candidate with the most signs has the most support and therefore deserves mine. Only in America could that sort of mindless herd logic make sense.

Or, perhaps: Lester down the street has a sign for Congressman Boil…I know and trust Lester…so, Congressman Boil must be the guy to vote for.

I’m old enough to remember a time when yard signs had to be assembled by hand, one at a time. You had posters printed and spent hours tacking (don’t ask, it’s obsolete technology) or stapling them to wooden stakes. The first good rain would turn the sign into a soggy mess. Today these eyesores are stamped out by the thousands, impervious to the elements.

In rural areas like where I grew up, the “big brother” to the yard sign was a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, displayed along rural highways and intersections.

The popularity of these little “billboards” might have more to do with economics. Buying TV and radio time is probably beyond most local budgets.

I guess the thing that bothers me about all of this is the absence of ideas. These things don’t tell us what the candidate thinks about the issues. Or the quality of their thinking, for that matter.

As long as our leaders can get elected by placing the most brightly colored signs in front lawns (or airing the most 30 second TV and radio “spots”), we’re gonna get empty-headed, venal men and women running our lives.

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