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During this Thanksgiving season, I trust you can find it in your heart to forgive me for writing about politics. But I have some unfinished business related to the most recent election.
It seems every election season, the newspaper fields calls about destruction, damage or theft of political signs. This year was no exception. The local Republican Party, in fact, offered a bounty for information leading to the arrest of a serial sign vandal.
Unless some lucky police officer on patrol stumbles on the individual in the act, it's not an easy crime to solve. The spray paint is long gone and the vandal seldom leaves behind evidence.
It's also no major concern as far as public safety. Although the act is clearly a crime, it's a minor one. There's little cost involved and no bodily harm, so solving the case is not exactly a CSI urgency deserving of Ted Danson's intervention.
But it is rude, disrespectful and unwarranted. It's a symptom perhaps of the uncivil and uncooperative nature of today's politics where any attack is OK and any insult is acceptable.
For some, destroying signs may seem like a harmless joke or an election-year prank. But each election season, the calls about sign vandalism or theft always are urgent.
Seen through the prism of the greater election issues, callers typically are frantic and angry. Most describe it in terms of conspiracy as if a handful of yard signs could determine the presidency.
But one caller this November expressed a different, more personal concern. A lady who lives in Elizabethtown's Foxfire area mentioned that all Romney signs in neighborhood got a Election Eve paint job.
Her call was unique because of what she said next.
She was not so worried about the political statement or see it as an act of hatred and spite. She viewed it as a violation of her comfort and security at home.
Someone unknown to her or her family came onto her property under the cloak of darkness with the intent to do damage. The vandal could just have easily spray painted hateful words on the porch or tossed a rock through the window.
It's a scary and unsettling thought.
Later, a friend described similar incidents near his father's home in an area where many elderly people reside. He said each person as sounding fearful or uncertain. Every neighbor required some measure of reassurance.
It's a reminder that there are no small violations of our freedoms. Each one hurts someone in some way.
The national political environment must change. It is infecting our neighborhoods. A huge infusion of respect is needed.
Regardless of party or belief, officeholders and candidates deserve to be treated appropriately and appreciated for their efforts. That should begin with their campaign signs and the property owners who display them.
Ben Sheroan is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or email@example.com.