Skip to main content

This morning, our family saddled for a hiking trip, abandoning Pittsburgh's cityscape for the mountains 90 minutes south.

It was a beautiful, crisp autumn day, and the scenes were austere: rolling farms sprinkled with orange and auburn hues, mountain ridges cupping cottony clouds in the valleys below, roadside family restaurants sporting "buckwheat supper" announcements.

However, one thing was markedly different: anti-Obama signs – some pointed, others virulent – dotted the landscapes. "Stop the War on Coal: Fire Obama" billboards and yard signs were scattered at regular intervals as we drove past Connellsville on our way south. These were accented by a hodgepodge of bizarre anti-Obama signs, including a large billboard that shocked my wife and I: a picture of a distressed, almost crazed white male holding a gas pump to his head in mock suicide pose, with the words "Fire Obama."

These signs were not present two months ago on our last jaunt to the mountains. And their presence was disturbing – not because they represented the other "team," but because they represented a segment of society which, like Clint Eastwood, is being haunted by imaginary demons that take Obama's form. And these signs represent segments of society that, when Obama is re-elected, are going to see those demons two- and three-fold.

They are not reality-based, of course. But just like Eastwood's chair, they exist in the mind. And the fear this imaginary Obama elicits – as well as the hate-fueled anger – is palpable.

These signs aren't just popping up where I live. It's happening all over the country. Racists, right-wing conservatives, local Tea Parties and libertarians all over America are trying to scream their deluded, archaic messages via – appropriately – an old medium: roadside billboards and street signs.

Just as conservative, on-air personalities (like Rush Limbaugh) crackle over AM radio, today's equivalent of short-wave, ordinary citizens and rogue organizations are desperately attacking Obama using today's equivalent of smoke signals and drum beats.  

Here's just a sampling of those signs that have popped up around the country in the past few months. They defy explication:

In Gainesville, Texas, an anti-Obama email inspires a local resident to, well, inspire others to take out the President. Subtle, no? (2012)

In Elkhart, Indiana, the same theme, this time sponsored by the local Tea Party. (2012)

In Caldwell, Idaho, the Ralph Smeed Foundation juxtaposes Obama with Colorado theater shooter James Holmes. (2012)

In Hanson, Massachusetts, motorcycle accessories distributor Sullivans Inc. concocts a communist Kenyan for consumers and passing traffic. (2012)

Of course, we've seen signs before. Anyone who pays attention to the Southern Poverty Law Center is fully aware of the hate and extremism that is growing underground in organizational form, and which has found Obama as a targeted subject. And anyone who has seen the ratcheting up of fear conducted by FOX News and conservative radio hosts knows that the village has been stoked for some time.

But from what I saw today on the road in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and what I'm seeing cropping up simultaneously across the country, there is reason to pause and reflect upon what this country will look like after November 6, 2012.

There is reason to pause and reflect upon what, if anything, can be done to dampen the emotional fires that may rage on November 7.

Today, all I could do was pause.

Author's Note:

Here is just a sampling of signs from two years ago, the types of signs that are appearing in much more abundance as we move close to the election:

Outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, Freedom Boards Across America go the anti-Constitution, anti-America route. (2010)
In Mason City, Iowa, the local Tea Party raises the perversion bar to new levels. (2010)
In Grand Junction, Colorado, a Tea-Party-affiliated couple put up this piece of eye pollution depicting Obama as a terrorist, gangster, Mexican war lord and a gay man. (2010).
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

kos, GainesT1958, paradox, Alma, Sean Robertson, filkertom, Odysseus, jexter, alyosha, Timaeus, native, importer, Rolfyboy6, kainah, DebtorsPrison, bosdcla14, karlpk, Shockwave, Minnesota Deb, Sherri in TX, Stein, eeff, Ahianne, MarkInSanFran, dweb8231, alain2112, CoolOnion, highacidity, boadicea, mkfarkus, mrblifil, roses, Voter123, sngmama, oceanview, hopeful, Quege, tomephil, ammaloy, hopesprings, psnyder, NYC Sophia, Eyesbright, Steven Payne, defluxion10, salinas, lcrp, riverlover, bwintx, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, Curt Matlock, mungley, WisVoter, KayCeSF, Vicky, tomjones, Steven D, furi kuri, sebastianguy99, Frank Vyan Walton, sawgrass727, rapala, radarlady, NoMoreLies, JanetT in MD, revbludge, kitchen sink think tank, basquebob, ChemBob, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, Beetwasher, Sun Tzu, Fury, skyounkin, Steve in Urbana, markdd, sunbro, kaliope, PinHole, WisePiper, sodalis, sgary, kathny, fhcec, bently, xaxnar, martini, Hirodog, gwilson, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, vigilant meerkat, 417els, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, tobendaro, Russgirl, dopper0189, Gorette, kestrel9000, Patriot4peace, zesty grapher, fou, slampros, NBBooks, MJ via Chicago, StrayCat, Libby Shaw, anninla, llbear, democracy is coming, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, shaharazade, Sapere aude, fabucat, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, blue armadillo, moodyinsavannah, Debs2, rccats3, gloriana, puakev, cobaltbay, wildweasels, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, certainot, deepeco, jedennis, letsgetreal, cyncynical, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, millwood, OIL GUY, CT Hank, christianlsv, uciguy30, fallina7, skod, Keith930, Assaf, Empower Ink, JDWolverton, 123man, MKinTN, rogerdaddy, gundyj, TruthFreedomKindness, califdem, MikePhoenix, mamamedusa, Sixty Something, Tchrldy, Involuntary Exile, Old Lefty, Akonitum, TomFromNJ, Cassandra Waites, hwmnbn, Neosho, Quicksilver2723, home solar, codairem, Keninoakland, GrannyOPhilly, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, prettygirlxoxoxo, pileta, Ran3dy, WhizKid331, Rick Aucoin, litoralis, greengemini, Carol in San Antonio, CanyonWren, susanWAstate, Zotz, shopkeeper, mkor7, Remediator, elziax, MKSinSA, Denise Oliver Velez, montecristo, Larsstephens, Railfan, brentbent, marabout40, Laurilei, trustno1, NJpeach, estreya, gramofsam1, jethrock, Crabby Abbey, BenderRodriguez, Polly Syllabic, freeport beach PA, Eddie L, gulfgal98, loveistheanswer, pixxer, kacemo, Puddytat, naka, sharonsz, Jaimas, Publius2008, rja, BlueFranco, Floande, Loose Fur, wwjjd, Wisdumb, Onomastic, Bluefin, ozsea1, slowbutsure, sostos, KCthinking, cooper888, asterkitty, lighttheway, kevin k, FightingRegistrar, Teiresias70, lupinella, molunkusmol, DruidQueen, dle2GA, KVoimakas, SueM1121, tardis10, worldlotus, wintergreen8694, peregrine kate, MinistryOfTruth, Marihilda, rscopes, caryltoo, Davui, No one gets out alive, YaNevaNo, livingthedream, Only Needs a Beat, jacey, Liberal Granny, KiB, Pixietrixter, Heart n Mind, isabelle hayes, IndieGuy, ahumbleopinion, Deep Texan, JGibson, congenitalefty, This old man, shanesnana, Arahahex, MartyM, OllieGarkey, wxorknot, james321, Vote4Obamain2012, avsp, rat racer, Glen The Plumber, dotdash2u, George3, Robynhood too, Blue Bell Bookworm, remembrance, SanFernandoValleyMom, entrelac, parsonsbeach, northerntier, Smoh, Laura Wnderer, ET3117, pragmaticidealist

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site