Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hwy 49 - Grass Valley to Auburn

Un American Graffiti

The other day, riding south on highway 49 I spotted a hand-lettered sign: “Obama Sucks.” Actually there were three signs all clustered together so that one could view it coming and going from and to Auburn or Grass Valley. The signs were affixed to the fence separating the highway right-of-way from private property.

Shortly thereafter, I drove back up there with the express purpose of removing the signs. And I did so.

For those concerned, let me be clear:

1. Everyone has the right to free speech in this country, but only the government is prohibited from denying free speech to individuals. I’m not the government. I am me. I can take action to shut up anyone I want to shut up and anyone can take action to shut me up as well.

(Right about now, if everyone would just shut up – and listen – the country’d be a whole lot better off, but I digress.)

2. The signs affixed to the fence were not an exercise in free speech; they were an exercise in graffiti. Graffiti has no place in public restrooms, Union Pacific box-cars or on fences next to public thoroughfares.

3. Fences separating public from privately held lands are public, just like courthouses, police stations and the gang mail-boxes found in many neighborhoods. They are not billboards or bulletin boards for advertisements or public expressions of private individuals. Nor should they be subject to graffiti.

4. The content of the sign looked a whole lot stupider than the average IQ of the average Nevada County citizen – Nevada Countyans are very bright folks, just look at where they live! – so as a public service, tangential to my actions, I believe I made everyone up that way look a little bit smarter than the sign would purport.

For your information: If you know of the individual who placed the sign on the fence, you may pass along access to this blog. I will gladly inform them that I will happily take down any “Obama Sucks” sign they choose to place on public property along the highway. This, I will tell them, will serve as my exercise of free speech. I will also invite them to “have a nice day.”