Herman: The yard signs of our times


I’ve been remiss as of late in engaging in one of America’s favorite and more rewarding pastimes: Annoying a liberal.

So let’s take a drive around town and see what we can find that might arouse some progressive dander and provide me some cover for when I field gripes from Trump troopers who think I’m a card-carrying commie.

You don’t have to look beyond the front yards in some parts of town because some local liberals like to post their politics on their lawns. I like the practice. There’s something vibrant about it. But I do have some questions about some of the signs I see around Austin these days.

Here’s one I see around town in these troubled and divisive days: “All are welcome here.” So warm. So nice. So inviting.

So nonsense.

I applaud the sentiment but question the sincerity. All? Really? If so, I trust the homes behind these signs don’t have alarm systems or locks. Why would you need such protective devices in a home where “all” are welcome? The door’s unlocked. C’mon in. There’s beer in the fridge and the guest room is made up and ready.

And maybe that very welcoming sign shouldn’t be in areas with “neighborhood watch” signs informing visitors that all “suspicious activity” is reported to the police. If all are welcome, none are suspicious.

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The fact is, of course, everybody — regardless of feel-good, front-yard signage — reserves the right to decide who gets in their home. Does anybody allow in 100 percent of everybody who might show up at the door? Doubtful. I haven’t checked the latest stats, but I know we run at something under 100 percent at our house. Maybe we should get a “Some are welcome here” sign. In a minute, I’ll tell you about the small sign posted at our house.

Near the intersection of Shoal Creek Boulevard and North Park Drive, somebody has put in front of their home a colorful bench that says “Rest Awhile-All Welcome.” Beautiful. But there’s only room for two so a schedule will have to be worked out.

On a related note, our collective home shares the same right to control access. A nation, like a home, has a right to decide who gets in. We can disagree on who we should let in, but everybody agrees we get to control who gets in. Many are welcome, indeed needed, but it falls somewhere short of “all.”

While we’re thinking about neighbors, let’s give a shout-out to the only next-door one our nation has that doesn’t seem to have an ongoing problem with citizens willing to incur life-threatening risks to illegally cross the border out of their country and into ours. O Canada, thanks.

In pursuit of the holy grail of yard signdom, I’m on the lookout for this front-lawn combo — “All are welcome here” and “Secured by ADT.” Doing a bit of neighborhood profiling, I drove around an area where I thought I’d be able to find that contradictory sign combination. FYI, you’re looking good these days, Travis Heights.

Disappointingly, I didn’t find the coveted sign combination. But I’m sure it’s out there. I did find a Northwest Austin home that has an “All are welcome here” yard sign and a seasonal notice featuring a ghost and “Boo!” (Sidenote. I’m in year two of the pursuit of another sign scenario: A Trump sticker on a Prius. I thought I saw one recently. But it said “Make America Green Again.”)

Please call my attention to any home that has signs simultaneously announcing “All are welcome here,” while also announcing there’s an alarm system at work. I might knock on that door and see if all, indeed, are welcome. I know better than to try to enter without knocking. We are Texas.

I did, however, come across a Travis Heights lawn with an ADT alarm sign and the now-trendy sign stating household beliefs. You’ve seen it. Perhaps you proudly display it. Good for you. Looks like you’re a good person who believes in good stuff. Thanks for sharing your beliefs with all who pass, be they welcome or not at your home.

Included in the beliefs on that sign are “Science is real,” “Love is love,” and “Kindness is everything.”

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I enjoyed seeing that beliefs sign in front of a house near the North Austin intersection of Daugherty Street and Greenlawn Parkway, just west of Burnet Road. The sign declaring loving beliefs was near two other signs, one indicating parking violators would be towed and another noting, “All suspicious persons and activities are immediately reported to our police department.”

Here’s another yard sign I see around town these days: “Hate has no home here.” So beautiful. And every time I see it I’m reminded of what a bad man I am (as if reminders are needed). I hate some people.

You know those people who use kids as suicide bombers to kill people who might have different religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds than them? I hate those people. And you know those people, regardless of ideology, who drive vehicles into crowds? I hate those people. And you know those people who behead kidnap victims and post the video? I hate those people.

I hate that I hate any people — I’m OK with hating some vegetables — but I hate the above-listed people. I wish them ill. Hence, I do not qualify for a “Hate has no home here” yard sign.

My home sports two signs. One says we have an alarm system and the other is a plaque by the front door offering sincere whimsy: “No solicitors. Religious or otherwise. We are happy just the way we are. If that changes — we’ll call you.”

I’m thinking of adding a yard sign that says:

“In this house, we (or some of we) believe: We’re sick of paying for cable channels we never watch. It’s wrong that one baseball league has the designated hitter and the other doesn’t. One hundred percent voter turnout would be bad. Folks who can afford to buy books should show support for them by buying them instead of checking them out of the library. And science is real hard.”

Final liberals-related thought: It’s too bad Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, says he won’t run for president in 2020. Would have made a monster ticket with former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. #franken-stein



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