Signs of the Recall

Spring in Wisconsin has always been a special time. As any denizen of the Badger State will attest, you know its spring when the first robin is sucked into the intake of a Harley Davidson and shot out of its Screamin’ Eagles®. You know its spring when the 3-foot-tall, herbicide-resistant dandelions take their first child hostage. And this year, you know its spring when, along with the perennials, the yard signs begin to bloom.

It started with “Recall Walker,” but soon, “Stand with Walker” appeared. And it got really interesting when the signs went up next door to each other. I’m sure, when they saw the opposing sign, both neighbors thought, “This explains everything!”

I don’t think this happens as much in the outlying communities; for better or worse, suburban communities tend to be of like mind and like signs. Obviously there are exceptions, but not like in the city. In the city of Milwaukee, neighbors go so far as to plant opposing signs inches from their property lines, facing each other like a couple of sweaty d-bags squaring off at bar time.

(By the way: If you ever get a chance to watch one of those fights from a safe distance, treat yourself. They’re usually big guys because they work out, but it’s usually the first fight ever for either of them. When they finally “go,” the high octane slap fight that ensues is delightful.)

Political yard signs provide a glimpse into the households behind them that, frankly, I don’t want to see; especially because I’m just walking past. It’s like the owner of the house yelling at me. “Hey! HEY! Stand with Walker!” Or “Recall Walker! Do you hear me? Recall Walker!” They’re like angry panhandlers. I try not to make eye contact with them.

We all know that June 5 will come and go, and the sun will rise on June 6. One sign will have shouted the winning slogan while the other will have screamed in vain. The signs will come down, but will the acrimony be as easily removed? Or will the passive-aggressive battlefield later be featured in a film by Ken Burns and narrated by Sam Waterston?

I know it always sounds condescending to the losing side but, personally, I hope we can heal, and that neighbors can go back to being neighbors. I think some healing will happen naturally after we finally go back to talking about something else. Nevertheless, I don’t think we can go back to normal right away; I think we need to be extra nice to each other for a while. And I think we can do it with yard signs.

If you put up a yard sign for the recall, after June 5, win or lose, you must display a different yard sign that says something inspirational to the passerby. Some suggestions may include: “It’s all going to work out.” “Hey! Have you lost weight?” or “Free candy in the shed!”

And then, in 3 months, we can replace those signs with signs for our presidential picks.

You can question the jobs numbers, but the folks that make yard signs are doing just fine.

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