A Sign of the Times

    The shredded paper carcasses of mutilated political yard signs litter front yards. Security camera videos of signs being seized from porches and fences trend on neighborhood forums. These scenes would fit into The Purge easily if they were not already commonplace in our community.

       “My signs are not hurting anybody. I don’t get why people are so angry and mean about it, you know?” Conifer resident Patty Potter said.

       Some argue that the signs create unnecessary tension within a neighborhood, but for Potter yard signs are about more than politics.

       “It’s a tradition. It’s something I’ve grown up with. It’s something my parents did and I do, and I hope my children do,” Potter said.

       Potter is not the only one who feels strongly about the importance of these signs. Neil Whitehead, another Conifer resident, agrees with Potter though they are from opposing parties.

       “These signs are part of the First Amendment of our country. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Even though you don’t like the candidate you can respect them,” Whitehead said.

Over the past few months the distribution of these yard signs has become Whitehead’s passion. He has traveled from Conifer to Littleton distributing the signs, and estimates that he has given out over 2,000.

       “I started distributing signs on September 5, and I’ve been doing it about five days a week. I spend four or five hours standing up there without a break,” Whitehead said.

       Many Coloradans feel that in placing yard signs they can make their voices heard.

       “I’m doing this because I consider myself to be fighting for my country. I feel that getting yard signs in people’s yards is important because it sends the message of how you feel, or how you stand, to your neighbors,” Whitehead said.

       Both Potter and Whitehead explained that the purpose of these signs is not to influence the votes of others.

       “It’s letting other people know something that’s important to you. It’s not like somebody will see my Trump sign and say ‘oh, maybe I ought to vote for Trump.’ It’s not that at all,” Whitehead said.

       Though the theft of these signs has become a topic of enormous discourse, the theft itself accomplishes very little.

       “Instead of getting angry I decided, well, I’ll just turn it into something positive and I’ll keep donating more money to the person I support,” Potter said.

       She has been replacing her signs as they are stolen, donating money to the Biden campaign with the purchase of each sign.

       At the end of the day, the destruction or thievery of these signs supports the very campaign saboteurs are trying to harm. Sign theft draws the community further apart than the signs themselves.

       “It’s really important for neighbors to get along,” Potter said.