The current popular subject on the street is about all the election signs. Not so much about the quality of the signs, but the quantity. With so many candidates running, the signs are now just a blur and it’s difficult to identify one sign from the other.
I can’t complain too much, I was out putting some signs up supporting my candidate in this election and in past campaigns as well. When you volunteer to work on an election campaign and you own a pickup truck, you are automatically put on the sign crew.
It is not a job for weaklings; you have to be in shape. You need a big hammer, a portable screw driver and a set of rain gear. You have to be able to leap wide ditches in a single bound and wear boots that can trample brambles. You have to have a keen eye and place the sign to get maximum voter visibility and yet minimum driver obstruction.
The big signs are easy. You pound in the stakes, screw on the supports and it’s strong enough to face the storms but maybe not the vandals. But hey, these sign wrecking kids are out in the fresh air, getting exercise, so don’t be too hard on them.
The little signs are the problem. The wire frames tend to bend if you force them and the road shoulders are usually compact gravel. They end up twisted and blown down and become unreadable by election day. It would be easier to find softer ground but most politicians don’t like using a ‘grassy knoll’ for anything.
Besides, they are boring. They need to be more attractive to the drivers. Many of you may remember the old Burma Shave signs of the 1940s and 1950s. Five or six signs would be placed in a row, each consecutive sign with a line to a poem. It was one of the most successful ad campaigns around at the time.
For instance, coming up to a set of railroad tracks the signs might read: Train approaching / Whistle squealing / Stop / Avoid that run-down feeling / Burma Shave.
So let’s get creative with our election signs.
They could be negative: I don’t like cows/ I don’t like grass/ I support/ the overpass/vote for me.
They could be positive: I don’t support /the transit tax/ bring back/the interurban tracks/vote for me.
They could be informative: Seven councillors/ Mayor makes eight/that doesn’t mean/we are a slate/vote for us.
Even the school board candidates could get on board: I don’t want/to raise no fools/ I support/ the two new skools /vote for me.
I’m sure you all agree that you would slow down to read all these well crafted messages and I’m sure an aspiring poet could make big money from all the candidates as the competition for more and more rhymes heated up.
Before long, the national and world news media would arrive in our town and be extolling the creativity of our election candidates. Instead of negativity and bickering, we could all enjoy driving the streets again. Maybe families would even go out for car rides just to read the signs.
Personally, I think if someone was creative with their signs, they may be creative at the council table as well. But be patient: Signs are down / in four more days/ at least/that’s what McGregor says.