When I was little, my neighborhood near Chicago was part of a program where families could put an orange handprint in their front window, signaling to kids in trouble that they could knock on their door to get help.
But when a stern, and sometimes rude, family moved into a house with an orange hand already in the window, my 8-year-old skepticism kicked in, and I wondered whether I could really trust the sincerity behind the signage.
I get a similar feeling as I survey an ever-proliferating array of virtue-signaling lawn signage in my current neighborhood.
If you’ve taken more than three steps anywhere in suburbia, then you’ve most certainly encountered the “In this house” sign that began popping up sometime between Democrats’ fury over Trump taking the White House and their fury that he was still in office one week later.
In a mash of rainbow fonts set against a black background, it lists a series of progressive, creedal axioms:
“In This House, We Believe: Black Lives Matter / Women’s Rights Are Human Rights / No Human Is Illegal / Science Is Real / Love Is Love / Kindness Is Everything.”
That’s quite an elevator pitch. Maybe party leaders should take the hint — the 2020 Democrat Party platform was 91 pages long. A lot of footnotes, I have to presume.
It was no doubt a heartfelt statement from the Wisconsin librarian who first scrawled it on a poster and planted it in her yard. But, as with family stick figures slapped on the back of minivans, satirizing the sign has become something of a national pastime.
This one from a particularly creative Latter-day Saint angle stakes out a hardline position on Bigfoot:
Assuming Big Foot prefers the wilderness to urban living, Utah might be the perfect home for him if the signage from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has its way (I assume the elk heads are to scare off hooligans hoping to graffiti some petroglyphs):
You’ll find the “Protect Wild Utah” signs mostly in the yards of those who can, you know, afford lots of RV trips to Moab or Bears Ears National Monument. And no doubt thanks to a plethora of “Utah Stands With Bears Ears” signs dotting the Avenues in Salt Lake City, President Biden received the message and decided to restore the monument to its previous size.
We all know the best way to influence federal policy is through yard signs in Utah.
But if some of you readers find the Wild Utah signs grating, you can always repurpose them to prove you’re a Democrat who loves a Republican politician more than your Republican neighbor hates a Republican politician.
Meanwhile, some of those Republican neighbors continue to dedicate precious inches of their ever-shrinking, master-planned yard space to campaign signs for a man whose campaign ended 12 months ago (and who is a whole three years away from the next election if he does run again). If you’re running out of room in your yard, though, and you want to needle as many Biden supporters as possible, you can cover more ground by taking your signage to-go.
And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago on a walk through my neighborhood that I first saw the “pine tree flag” — a cartoon green tree on a white background with simple lettering reading “An Appeal To Heaven.” At first I thought it was a curious religious paean to nature, or maybe a flag in support of Stanford University’s offbeat tree mascot. It turns out it goes back to the American Revolution as one of the flags used by Washington’s army. And the text on the flag goes back even further to 17th-century England and John Locke’s “Second Treatise on Government,” in which he refutes the divine right of kings.
Today the flag is mostly seen with conservative activists, and it showed up at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. That’s unfortunate, since “an appeal to heaven” seems like a far more inviting message than “Don’t tread on me,” which is particularly worrisome when it’s flown by your next-door neighbor and you really need to tread on his lawn to get that Frisbee that just sailed over his fence.