Let’s start with a statistic regarding plastics. In roughly the last 100 years, humans have managed to generate 9.2 billion tons of plastic on this planet. Okay, forget that for a moment. We’ll get back to that.
Every few years, when people run for office, we are all collectively blessed with these erratic red, white, and blue signs, stuck everywhere, advertising names of people running for various positions. These are just random names of people. Some of these people I even know tangentially, or in a few cases, have actually met face-to-face. Do the signs do anything? Do they mean anything? Do they get people elected? I’m sure they cost money to produce. It requires energy to drive around and stick them in lawns. They are made from metal and plastic and paint, which is likely screen printed onto them. Their production must be a small micro economy. Someone likely relies on their production for income, I’m sure. But seriously, are these signs necessary? Do any of these names care about the environment?
I took about 40 photos of these signs in a short 10-minute drive from my home. I was sure to not take a picture of anyone’s sign twice, although some of you could have been singled out and embarrassed for excessive overexposure. Are the signs recycled? Does each person place the sign themselves? Do their friends place the signs? Some houses are littered with them. In one location near the intersection of Prince Court and Maria Drive is a dilapidated section of road that is in such poor condition the words “Fix Me” have been spray painted onto the asphalt. A mere 50 steps away (I walked and counted my steps) was a cluster of these signs stuck into public land right across from the start of the path leading to where the Crossings is located. Are the people who win the election going to advocate for the pavement of these horrific roads? I’ve been living here for 20 years now, since I moved here with my family from Queens, NY. Since that time, some streets have been paved. Full disclosure: my tiny street was paved a few years back. I called once and asked about it. I was told the streets are on a 30-year pave cycle. 30 years! Just driving around to take pictures of these signs through a few local roads, Gadsen Court, Driftwood Drive, and Prince Court, was like taking my Jeep on a bumpy off-road excursion. With every home — even the seemingly abandoned ones — paying thousands in taxes every year, the roads are the first thing the homeowner tax money should go to. Without navigable roads, all the commerce the local economies survive on becomes hindered. Poor roads also require continued repairs, which just makes them look and feel worse to drive on.
Now, after the pandemic, I’m sure there is no money left for anything like repaving, right? Inflation, right? Chicken is more expensive. Gas is over $3 a gallon. All our goods are stuck in limbo off the coast of California. But we have signs! Signs galore! Somehow there is money floating around for every one of these candidates to litter the streets with these signs. I know they all don’t get collected properly. I’ve seen them blown off into the woods. I’ve seen the metal posts sitting in the middle of the road waiting to bless one of us with a flat tire. Have any of you gotten a flat from a candidates sign? Has anyone had to collect errant wandering signs and toss them out in the garbage in late November or December? Is there a candidate out there who does not agree with these wasteful and obtrusive signs and chooses to use the internet or some other means to communicate their candidacy to the general public? Does anyone agree with me that these signs are a waste? The cost of this blight on our neighborhood would be better spent on the upkeep of the local roads.
Back to the plastic. Are they recycled? Do they get reused? Does it even matter? How do I end this? How about stop with the signs? Figure out another way to get elected. Use a JPEG or a meme. Use Twitter, Facebook, email, or snail mail. And if you can’t stop with the signs, maybe, perhaps, try and attempt to communicate somewhere on the sign what your position is, rather than just ego-blasting your name, and tell us what you will do to improve our community and why any of us should get off the couch and go vote for you.