The day a few weeks ago, when our Obama ’08 sign arrived, it was a good day. The kids and I arrived home and we were very excited to see the cardboard box sitting on the kitchen table. I yelled to my dad in the living room (he listens to MSNBC at a decibel level I’m not sure is safe for the dog) “HEY! IS THIS OUR OBAMA SIGN?” He clicked off the television (ahhh, blessed relief) and said, “Yep! I think so. Where are going to put it?” I said, “Out front, why?” Seriously, where else would you put a yard sign? He looked surprised and then said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” My eyes narrowed and I said, “Why not?” He said, “I bet you twenty bucks it won’t still be there on Election Day.” I gave him an eye-roll and said, “Come on Dad. Bring your hammer. Kids, grab the camera.” It was a good day.
Since then, each morning I’ve walked by the sign, its mere presence lifting my mood and reminding me of the hope I feel about the upcoming election. Each night when I’ve arrived home, it’s been waiting for me, welcoming me back.
This morning I scrambled out the door with the kids, schlepping all my stuff trying to stay balanced in boots that sport a three-inch heel. I ran up the sidewalk, toward the Palinmobile and then stopped. Stock still. Not breathing, not blinking, my mind racing. The sign was gone. All that was left in the yard was one of two metal sticks. I stood staring until I heard it. A tiny sniffle from a beautiful angelic nose that stood right behind me. I turned slowly to look at my eight-year-old daughter’s face. Tears had welled up in her gorgeous light brown eyes, overflown, and were streaking across her pink cheeks. Her tiny chapped lips trembled. She turned her head and looked down the street. I knew instantly that she was looking to see if our neighbor’s McCain/Palin sign was still in their yard. When she saw that it was, a little sob escaped from her mouth. She then looked at me and whispered, “Why?”
Why, indeed. I can replace the sign. However, there is nothing that I can do to erase this experience for my daughter. Oh sure, I’ll use this as a teaching moment for tolerance and common courtesy, not even mention decency. But my heart is a little bruised that I couldn’t protect her from getting a taste of something cruel and petty.
To the Stepford Wife who I suspect is responsible for making my daughter cry: You better hope I don’t get confirmation of my suspicions. For the pen, is indeed, mightier than the sword.