News and Commentary

WILLS: The Worst Lawn Sign Virtue Signaling

This is why neighbors can’t talk about politics anymore.
Woke Lawn Sign
Courtesy J.D. Wills

You’ve seen the signs in your neighborhoods. They’re often accompanied by a “Biden Harris 2020” sign, or better yet a sign saying “NOPE” to Trump. Critics of these signs will point out that they are “semantically overloaded tautologies.” But that’s not even right — if anything, it’s an overestimation of the logic behind these signs. A tautology requires that something be stated twice in two different phrases (“the liberal media leans left”). But phrases like “Love is Love” don’t even bother with the rephrasing. It’s just the same word twice.

Yet phrases like this one and the others included in these signs are loaded with political baggage and begging for a discourse. Unfortunately, the homeowners of these signs don’t make room for dialog. Instead, they put themselves in a semantic straitjacket while simultaneously blocking anyone from making movements toward them.

“Healthcare is a Human Right.” Sure. But should that healthcare be provided by the government or private corporations? We don’t know because we don’t even get to ask that question. To raise any doubts of the statement is to imply that you don’t believe humans should be cared for.

“Women’s Right are Human Rights.” Uh, yeah. All women are humans. Duh. Yet, there’s a real debate happening between pro-choice and pro-life groups about what healthcare looks like for women specifically. Of course, this phrase doesn’t even allow us to come near that conversation. By raising the issue we’re apparently questioning the humanity of women (an ill-advised decision at the very least).

“No Human is Illegal.” Sure, but some humans do illegal things. Shouldn’t we address how to respond to that? No, not in this front yard.

“Science is real.” I sure hope it is! But how is climate change affecting the globe and what can we do about it? Is our government doing too little or too much? Those questions are as real as science.

“Black Lives Matter.” Yeah, they absolutely do. But to support that statement one must also support an organization fighting for people on the gender spectrum — a completely different and highly contentious subject — and against those “systematically targeted for demise.” At least that’s some real rhetoric that we can talk about. Maybe we could educate each other on this system and supposed impending demise instead of forcing people to parrot a sentiment that, while objectively true, carries tons of tangential opinions that not everyone may share.

Do you want to knock on the door on someone who puts this in their yard? Of course not. Imagine entering a conversation where someone started by saying, “First off, you should know that these loosely-stated principles are core to my personal beliefs, irrefutable, and not up for discussion. Also, nice to meet you.” That’s not how people talk.

This nation was built by people who disagreed — we’re talking disagreements that people would die for. We don’t need to bring duels back (at least, I don’t think we do), but at least the people who stood on dueling grounds knew what they stood for. The people who put up these signs may know what they believe, but passersby sure don’t. And they’re definitely not inviting outsiders to join them in their beliefs. So, we stay entrenched on our different sides of the aisle, unable to even converse about our differences.

We’ve spent a lot of energy debating a wall going up on the south border of our country. Yet many of the people so vehemently opposed to that wall are building ideological blockades between their neighbor’s houses. For a group of people so eager to be welcoming and inclusive, there’s some serious in-group/out-group creation by putting up signs that make no logical sense while also “virtue signaling” that we’re on the right (left) side of the issues.

Get off your high horse and tell me why gay marriage should be legal. Tell me why healthcare should be handled by the government. Help me see what women’s rights we’ve fallen behind on. Explain to me a better system for immigration. Give me real-world solutions for climate change. Show me the systemic racism in our society.

Chances are, we might actually agree about a lot of this. In fact, I’m certain we would. But an irrefutable hypothesis doesn’t make room for discussion. It will never create progress. And it will never change minds.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Already have an account? Login