by Peter Johnson, Upper Oxford Mills

‘And the sign said, ‘Long-haired, freaky people, need not apply.'(Les Emmerson)  

A long time ago, shortly after the disappearance of dinosaurs, during my too-lengthy tenure in high school in Ottawa, Les Emmerson’s group, ‘The Five Man Electrical Band’, was very big…as were The Staccatos & The Townsmen.  There was a plethora of good groups back then, in the late 60’s–lots. It was ‘a sign of the times’ (the second song mentioned so far in this effort). On the topic of signs:

There are some signs that are most pleasant to the eyes…like church signs. They are meant to help us reflect:

‘CH_ _ CH: What’s missing?  U R’

‘This too shall pass.  It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.’

‘Acting perfect in church is like dressing up for an x-ray’.

Some signs are merely meant to make us think:

‘Sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the hydrant.’

‘Cremation is my last hope for a smokin’ hot body.’  

‘We will continue to have meetings until we find out why no work is getting done.’

And then there are the signs that people put up on their lawns – the biggest one around here, lately, has been short and to the point: ‘No Prison’. 

And then there are the ones that pop up magically, any time an election looms. They are neither humorous nor thoughtful. For me, they are simply puzzling.

Are they an advertisement? Do you have to buy one? Are there designated people in each of the political parties, who go around door to door asking, ‘Would you like to have a sign for my political party?  We’re having a 2 for 1 deal this week.’ Why do people put them out there, for all the world to see?

In this country, it is mandatory that your vote be confidential and private: Elections Canada sees to that.  Great steps are taken to make sure that no one can know for whom you are voting. So why would anyone go out of their way to advertise that which has been made private and secret? Are they looking for patronage? Are they trying to be influencers? Are they bragging? Are they just being oppositional? It’s puzzling. But even more puzzling is the over-abundance of blue signs, at least in our small community.

We have had a lengthy debate, in this publication and elsewhere, about the imposition of a prison in our small community. People were, and still are, understandably upset about the manner in which it was imposed. We have been dumped upon from a very great height, and we have not enjoyed it. I have not seen a single letter or opinion that said, ‘Calm down people. This is a good idea. They–the government–know what’s best. Settle down!’ (side note: Never, in the history of ‘settle down’, has anyone ever settled down after being told to settle down). 

The opposition has been quite strong and clear (a shout out here to a former student…good job Kirk Albert).  So, where do these people with the blue signs on their lawns fit into this situation? Where do they fit into the whole election scenario? Are they so anti-every-other-party that they will never change their vote? Fine. Do you need to take out an advertisement on your lawn to show your obstinacy? Were you silent while everyone else was vociferously protesting? Do you feel so superior that you feel that it is your duty and obligation to demonstrate to the peons supporting the other Parties, the errors of their ways—as a purely educational/helpful gesture?

I understand the demographic. This is an agricultural area–this is Eastern Ontario. The Party sporting the blue signs has had a tenacious grip on the riding, Provincially and Federally, since ‘Moses wore cowboy boots’–(an expression my mother used…I never understood it). But what does it take to shake the unswerving support of these hard-working rural residents? 

In my (somewhat) humble opinion, one of the reasons why they, the Queen’s Park Power Brokerage Firm, went ahead with their plan in the manner that they did, was because they knew that it was a ‘safe riding’. They had no concerns about any opposition. There would always be a vast majority who would stand firm and ‘toe the Party line’. Well, look what it got you. We have been treated as if we had no right to any consultation prior to the decision, and there has certainly not been any sincere or meaningful consultation since. And so, Mr. Clark, without batting an eye, assembles the loyal minions, and up go the signs. You’d think he’d be ashamed to show his face. Apparently not. His name/face is on almost every corner. If we get the government that we deserve, then this has been a harsh lesson verifying that point. And what will be the outcome of this election? I don’t think I could ask a more silly, more redundant question. The faithful will do their duty. 

As for me? There will be NO  political signs on my property. My vote will be my own secret, to keep or to share. No Party deserves my vote unless they earn it. No Party can be assured of my support, election after election, neither Provincially nor Federally. For me, the only thing worse than hanging up a blue sign, like clockwork, every election, at least for this area and for this election, is to not vote at all. That is just lazy and stupid…sorry…’un-smart’. (language is important) 

Vote! Vote early, vote wisely, and vote often(?)…VOTE!


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