A Sign of the Times

So, I clearly suggested 2019 would be less than kind to we the people in the U. S. of A. in yesterday’s snarky, rhyme-sceme blog. Well, at least I tacked on a positive-minded leap to 2020 as the possible electoral elixir to cure what has been ailing our country (now in its increasingly acute stages). Being pessimistic is being lazy at this point, I suppose. Guilty as charged, confesses moi.

Given all the movements that have manifested themselves in the past 2.5 years–from FIGHT BACK to RESIST to BLACK LIVES MATTER to #METOO and more, has anything related to any of those calls-to-action made much of a difference? An objective analysis would be, at best, a uh, well, it still hard to say. Right. It’s still a mess out there. And has been so for more than barely three years, but these past few years? FUGGETABBOTIT!

One of the more clear pieces of evidence that, in spite of all the umbrage and calls for justice and reason and compassion and understanding, is the ubiquitous HATE HAS NO PLACE HERE signs. Seriously? What is this sign suppose to accomplish? I walk past one and always think: well that’s a fucking load off! Is hate welcomed anywhere? Well, in the abstract, damn sure it is. Hate not. Love is the answer, sure. I am SO sure. But hate. We likely all harbor some hate for something: I hate winter. You hate heatwaves. He hates his dead-end life. She hates her boss. That kid over there hates eating veggies. That girl over there hates when her boyfriend is late. Everyone probably hates something about their job, if they have one. Hate is virtually a part of life isn’t it? Writ large or small on a case-by-case basis, certainly. Even for the ultimate, relentless optimist he/she likely HATES people like me, who keep complaining and professing pessimism. So, should we have specific types of “hate” that has no place here signs? That would be a boost for sign makers, eh? Hating pitbulls has no place here! Hating sushi has no place here! Hating Whole Foods has no place here! Hating fat people has no place here! Hating French restaurants has no place here. Hating public transportation has no place here. Hating any dismissal of my sign has no place here.

Hate not welcomed< eh? Duh. That’s a no-brainer, though, isn’t it? Well, actually a no-brainer means what? One doesn’t even have to possess a brain to comprehend/see/accept something before them, that something being too obvious for even someone WITHOUT A BRAIN to miss? It’s a no-brainer that a person should not have a “place” for hate. But no-brainers don’t always result in positive results. It’s a no-brainer that people should see basic right from wrong, but as I have already asserted, it’s a mess out there, and by there I mean HERE, but not just here but far beyond here. If signs have to remind us of something as logical as “hate has no place here” then I can’t help but feel it’s already a lost cause. How could it not be? Have so many people felt hatred infesting their lives that desperation has compelled them to announce to passersby that they protest it’s presence? Are those signs making any difference? How to measure it? Who knows? 

What is for certain about those sighs is that they are clearly, ahem, a sign of the times. 

Alas, and I HATE to say this, but I don’t think those signs work. They’ve been around for quite a long time by now and divisiveness and acrimony keep filling the newsfeeds. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. Bad is good. Losers are winners. Winners are losers. Up is down. Down is up. Facts are fake. Truth is not always the truth. The emperor has no clothes, but no one seems to notice. These are the signs I’ve been seeing in the past few years, but they are not planted in windows or front yards, but I think they should be. I believe they’d be more thought provoking and provocatively subversive. They’d require a bit more analysis and circumspection, no? That is, for those who, whether they know it or not, could better use their brains in such a regard.

This alternate signage idea, no doubt, is anything but a no-brainer. Which is okay by me. I prefer ideas that DO require an engaged brain to appreciate them fully. Which makes me think, c‘mon, that’s gotta be a no-brainer!



About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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