Mt Lebanon Magazine

710 Washington Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Mt Lebanon Magazine

The official magazine of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania

what’s your sign?

Vote! Blank Signs with yes and no

When I moved to Mt. Lebanon in 2008 it was a presidential election year. I remember driving through the frigid February weather around rolling, winding streets admiring the homes and figuring out what was what.

There was a little bit of exploring “who was who” at that time too. Back then campaign candidate signs sprouted up through the frozen earth like red, white and blue markers of American life. A lover of politics, history and social science, I admired how engaged this community seemed to be in what we now know was a historic election. People were candid about their candidates and to me that was very appealing. We sought to live in a community where people were thinkers and active in their neighborhoods.

If I’d driven through our town this year I might not know there was a major American event going on. I’m saddened that the contentious nature of this election has cowed us into maintaining our pretty lawns. The only thing sprouting through the grass are plants.

I worked the primary polls and found it to be one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. People gave us their names and we looked up their voter registration card which indicated which party they were. This wasn’t a source of embarrassment or indication of their character. It was a glimpse into the unpredictably diverse people who are here and across the country, I would imagine.

The televised debates that have dominated our living rooms aren’t the only discourse. In my own house we had much back and forth about whether we should stick our sign in the ground. Let’s just say I lost that one. I respect my husband’s choice to not advertise for our candidate. I understand. We, like so many other of our friends, are in the thick of raising teenagers. We have less time to focus on the electoral map because we are trying to navigate the complex map of their hormones.

Our kids have all been affected by this untidy election and the negative energy surrounding it. Planting a sign would shed an unwanted spotlight I suppose on the direction we lean for our future. The last thing teens want is attention from neighbors.

I do wish that we could trust each other though. Our community is a shining example of education, opportunity and safety. When did we become so skittish about dialogue? We argue about taxes and construction, sporting events and rules. Why can’t we show our colors this election?

To me, the lack of election signs is a sign of our times. I hope that after election day we can breathe a sigh of relief. I hope that we can once again be the confident, strong community that we always have been. It was OK to agree to disagree before. Let’s bring that back on Nov. 9.

Comments

  1. I suspect many Clinton supporters do not advertise on their lawns for fear of property damage at the hands of more extreme right wing Trump supporters ( not necessarily from the community ). I suspect that many Trump supporters do not advertise their support for fear that their neighbors will not understand their choice and will lose respect for them. This is the first election in my lifetime that it is been so difficult for friends, neighbors, and family to agree to disagree.

  2. Property damage? Seriously? There are many election signs in my neighborhood and they have not experienced any property damage.

  3. Funny Linda that you assume Trump Supporters are violent. Maybe you have missed the news lately or maybe you are completely ignorant. Either way, your comment on how difficult this election is on neighbors, friends and our children is spot on! Not one of the 4 candidates deserve my vote. In lieu of a quality moderate I am stuck voting against a candidate rather than for one. At least we know your and my vote will cancel each other out.

  4. Jennifer Rignani’s article is mildly interesting, but I don’t buy her arguments. One simply cannot equate yard signs to community engagement unless every household in Mt. Lebanon displays a sign. Since I came here in 1975 I have never seen anything even close to a simple majority of homes displaying yard signs in ANY election. (A ten year analysis of voting data for this town from the Allegheny County Board of Elections shows that, in the average, only about 3 out of 10 registered voters bother to vote; hardly what one would call an “engaged” community.)

    But, for the sake of argument, I’ll give Ms. Rignani her due and grant that her observations concerning yard signs are (somewhat) correct. That there is a dearth of signs this year does not surprise me at all, and has little to do with “right wing Trump supporters” or “loss of respect,” as writer Linda Stewart opines. The fact is that the two major parties have managed to offer the American people the most unpopular presidential candidates in the history of polling – and that is not simply the opinion of this writer. If the ballot had the option of “none of the above” I would place a substantial wager on “none” to win! And as far as driving “..through our town this year [and not knowing that] there was a major American event going on” is concerned, all I can say is that anyone who does not know that there is a “major American event going on” is, in a word, dead.

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