The Star Tribune reports on the escalating "sign wars" going on in the Twin Cities. It seems Joe Repya's efforts to distribute his "Liberate Iraq" signs have been highly successful, all across the metro area. The market niche for this product has existed for some time. The "No War!" crowd has been actively organized since last October, blocking up the scenery in formerly peaceful neighborhoods with their scolding, bullying signs, much to the chagrin of many neighbors. For a long time there was no organized response available to those supporting the Bush administration. But Repka's efforts and method of distribution over the past few months (that is, giving the signs away at public events) seem to have corrected this market inequity.
I can report his success has reached even Macalester-Groveland in St. Paul. On the street in front of my residence, a two block area has been bookended by two large, burgundy, and unopposed "No War!" signs for months. Which made all of us in between appear to be naive, appeasement-minded, head in the clouds / head in the sand types. But over the past few weeks, not one, not two, but THREE Liberate Iraq signs have cropped up in this expanse, thus restoring at least some level of confidence in me for my neighbors. (This confidence should last until about the time of the next election, when my district will overwhelmingly vote for naive, appeasement-minded, head in the clouds / head in the sand types like Betty McCollum and Matt Entenza).
One area where the war seems to have not begun is on St. Clair Avenue, between Dale and Lexington. The wealthy residents of the large mansions along this strip retain an undisputed yard sign stance of "No War!". Five or six such signs dot the streetscape there. However, as you approach and cross over Lexington, and into a distinctly more blue collar district, it's nothing but American flags and Liberate Iraq signs. (Except of course for the chronically defaced Pro Life Across America billboard at St. Clair and Griggs. The graffiti this time states "Pro Life = Anti-Woman.").
My observations tell me that there may be a correlation between socio-economic status and variety of sign in one's yard, at least in St. Paul. My hypothesis being the more the house is worth, the more likely the residents are to be against a Bush administration lead intervention in Iraq. Perhaps I can do some research this week to confirm or disprove this (but perhaps not, so don't hold your breath). But if you're looking for a theoretical basis for this alleged phenomena, here's an article by Victor Davis Hanson, written back in October of 2001. An excerpt follows, but it merits reading in its entirety:
I think fashionable anti-Americanism and pacifism have now become completely aristocratic pursuits, the dividends of limited experience with the muscular classes and the indulgence such studied distance breeds. Our pampered critics may be as clever as Odysseus, but they have lost his nerve, strength, and sense of morality. And so they have neither the ability nor desire to ram a hot stake into the eye of the savage Cyclops to save their comrades.
In contrast, those who toil with their hands for a living, who become unemployed frequently and work two jobs, who take out loans for their kids to go to college at public universities, and who do real things like grow food, put out fires, and arrest felons, have a very practical view of human kind, not all that different from the pessimistic assessment of the old hard-as-nails veteran Thucydides himself. Because they see brutality daily, understand how hard it is to survive and raise a family in the arena of national competition, and know too well what man is capable of at his rawest, they do not in their own lives enjoy the luxury of seeing awful people as "ignorant" in the abstract, rather than evil in the concrete.
Not so with the elite media, the professorate, and many in education and the arts. They rarely work with their hands or meet those who do. Arguments, if settled at all, are settled by committee and consultation, not fisticuffs and two-by-fours, or maybe by corporate pink slips, with orders to clear out the desk in two hours. Insults among our elite critics invite sarcasm and irony, never a knuckle sandwich. For many, there is the lifetime employment of tenure, and summers out of the classroom. Quite simply, in America, in this its greatest age of freedom and affluence, we have created an entire leisured class who were not always born into great wealth, but who nevertheless have obtained an easy sinecure without worry and danger. They have completely lost sight of the fireworks when good and evil enter the realm of muscle and sinew.