What is this sign really saying?

April 25, 2021 • 1:15 pm

I came across this sign in front of a Hyde Park house during my walk yesterday:

That pretty much covers all the bases, doesn’t it?

As I’ve said, I’m trying to be charitable towards those who don’t agree with me (but this person is also clearly a liberal), but I’m also peevish today. And I’m trying to figure out why someone put this sign in front of their house.  There are several possible reasons:

a.) To warn those coming into the house about the ideology of the inhabitants.

b.) To protect the house from being damaged during possible demonstrations (this would hold only for the “Black Lives Matter” slogan.

c.) To change people’s minds by broadcasting your political views to the public.

d.) To show everyone that you’re a good, right-thinking human being

e.) A combination of the above.

And even being charitable, I keep coming back to d), a form of virtue signaling.  For a) doesn’t make much sense, and neither does b), since there has been no demonstrating in this residential area.  c) is possible, but is it really credible to think that posting such a sign would, say, change people’s minds about the “reality” of science or the value of water?

It seems to me that what this sign is saying is effectively this: “I am a good liberal and adhere to the liberal doctrine.” But what does that accomplish? I happen to agree with almost everything on that sign, but it’s one thing to have these beliefs, and another to signpost them in front of your house.

Prove me wrong.

123 thoughts on “What is this sign really saying?

  1. A neighbor of mine who is black said that all the Black Lives Matter signs in the neighborhood made her feel good.

      1. They were only willing to commit to Black Lives being matter. Since not all matter is water, ergo the answer to your question is “no”, at least not all of them. 😉

    1. I agree. Additionally, there is nothing inherently wrong with D. Additionally additionally, stepping forward and letting your moral and rational views be known is precisely how pressure is applied to the more benighted and bigoted. I certainly hope there aren’t many of us who would keep our inclusive and scientific views secret out of fear that someone else will think we just being smug.

    2. Agreed. That’s why we do it.

      It has changed some minds I think. And one other house in the neighborhood has started flying the rainbow flag and has a BLM sign out front. I don’t buy the whole BLM political agenda (as anyone reading comments here knows) but, obviously black lives matter. Like everyone else’s. But it is meaningful to support black folk at this moment, IMO.

      Many people have commented favorably on our rainbow flag or our BLM sign (we have a “support our essential workers” sign out too). Those hard-working delivery people react well to it.

      Especially the rainbow flag has sparked a lot of conversations with neighbors. We were able to confirm several lesbian couples living in our neighborhood. Many waved and smiled to us. A few came up the drive and said something more or less like , “um .. are you … ?” “No, but we support everyone and we want to make that clear.”

      (One guy, who was in our place to do work on plumbing, said: “I like that. You support the USA [we have a US flag out front as well]; and everyone who lives here.”)

      The rainbow flag went up as soon after 8-Nov-2016 as I could obtain one (a few days) and has been up ever since.

      We live in a distinctly middle-class neighborhood outside St. Paul and Minneapolis (about 20 min. by road from either downtown).

  2. These kinds of signs appeared all over my neighborhood when Trump was first elected. They’re still up, though there are fewer. A lot went up after George Floyd was murdered, too. I figured my neighbors wanted others to know they didn’t agree with the fear mongering, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and overall general hatred of “others” being peddled by the Trump administration.

    1. That’s my take as well. All of the text on that sign could be replaced with a
      single sentence—’Trump is wrong about EVERYTHING’—and the semantic
      content wouldn’t be changed significantly.

    2. sc – agreed. These signs have been around quite some time, and many were posted as an “I am not a Trump supporter, and here is why.”

    3. After Trump was elected, we were one of several houses with a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign, for that reason. I liked it in part because it also implied I didn’t hate Trump supporters, either.

  3. I think it is definitely a combination of all of those things, though least likely B. If rioters are intent on property destruction, I doubt a sign like this would stop them. I see it as akin to flying the confederate battle flag. When I drive to Eastern WA on Hwy 12 through White Pass, there is this small town (Glenoma, an unfortunate name if there ever was one) I pass a barn and house with massive confederate displays and Trump signs. That tells me quite a bit about that home, I think. Were I a person of color, running out of gas or something, I would not stop at that house.

    1. Flying the Confederate battle flag means the person displaying it advocates for (most charitable interpretation) second-class citizenship for black people. Worst-case: They think slavery was a good idea. They may have lots of other bad ideas as well. And they may simply be ignorant. Or a combination of the above.

      The “history/heritage” and “states’ rights” blather is just bullsh!t. Only someone thoroughly ignorant of US history could propose such rationalizations (and I have little doubt that people that display the CSA BF are that ignorant).

  4. A and d. My neighbor has one of these signs posted prominently near their front door. They also drive a pickup truck and have a garishly green AstroTurf lawn. I scoff every time I pass the house.

  5. Its not to change another person’s mind. Or trumpet your values. Its to let people who agree with you that they are not alone. Its our version of geese quacking when they fly in formation. Its encouragement to those who fight the good fight that they are being heard.

  6. Let me ask you a question, Jerry. I really am looking for information here, and don’t have a particular axe to grind, though with the new information, and your explanation, I reserve the right to take issue with you (or to express my agreement). What about putting these signs in front of a business. Where I live (more or less progressive city in the Pacific Northwest), these occur not only on residences VERY frequently, but also in front of many businesses, such as restaurants and bars. Does this kind of display alter your reasoning (and here I don’t just mean “change your conclusion”) at all?

    1. Agreed. But I wonder, are there places where those on the right put up similar signs? I’ve seen signs in front of gun stores in Texas touting their belief in the Second Amendment, but none listing so many different beliefs.

      1. Have not seen a sign, but ‘Fuck Your Feelings’ shirts say it all about many Trump supporters.

  7. Maybe I’m feeling as peevish as our host, but the sign seems to be a form of virtue-signalling to me. The property owner should just install a flashing neon halo on the roof and have done with it.

    “No human is illegal” – Except some humans are legally prohibited from certain spaces. I wouldn’t fancy my own chances walking around a high-security nuclear facility, the grounds of the White House, etc,. And there are perfectly legitimate legal requirements for entering a country, especially if you don’t intend to leave.

    Perhaps “No human is illegal” is an invitation, for anyone who wants to, to enter the property and take what they like? No doubt in the sign owner’s utopian world the defunded police won’t be arriving in a hurry if anyone makes that interpretation…

    Told you I was peevish – and my apologies!

    1. The day I need to put a sign outside our house so that the neighbours don’t think I’m racist will be the day I … – actually, I’m not sure yet, but hopefully there’s plenty of time between now and when the Racistfinder General proclaims my death by drowning a sign of my innocence.

        1. My mother is from Peck, which is the next town over. My father is from Peeve, so I guess I’m Peevish and Peckish.

    2. I had assumed “No Human Is Illegal” was a swipe at Trump’s shenanigans at the border, such as putting children in caged dwellings, but then my daughter came for a visit and had the saying written on a tshirt. When I asked her exactly what it meant, she said it was a reference to Transgender Rights: it is not/should not be against the law for people to use the right bathroom, shelter, sports team, etc. according to their True Gender. If they can’t, it means they’re “illegal.”

      I guess we should be glad it didn’t say “No Human Should Be Denied Their Humanity.” We had a brief but slightly heated discussion re women’s rights, and I noticed later that she’d changed the shirt.

  8. Another possibility (f): advocacy for causes that are worth caring about, given the monstrous nihilism, anti-intellectualism, and illiberalism demonstrated consistently by Trump and his enablers (some of whom are willing to engage in violent sedition against the U.S.). If some want to interpret it as “virtue signaling” then I’m ok with that. There’s a long history of individuals advocating for causes they care about, and these signs are the latest example. Ceiling cat bless America!

  9. The main “sponsor” of these signs seems to MoveOn.org, the very prolific organization that sends out more pettitions than anyone: every conceivable issue every other day.

      1. Word Press just put a temporary visible box around my comments, as if to say, why didn’t you say that all at once? To which I say to WP, “Well if you hadn’t disabled that very useful feature, I wouldn’t have to.”

  10. Might be there to get people to think about and discuss those principles. In that case, it worked. I’d rather see that than the Trump signs and confederate flags I still see in my neck of the woods.

    1. I agree with the preference for this over Trump signs (and flags); in Texas I saw a TON of Trump signs, and it gave me the chills every time I saw one. However, I don’t think signs like the above are really meant to inspire discussion or reflection. Were I to be charitable, which I’m feeling more like this hour, I’d say that it’s also meant to show solidarity with those who think likewise. The thing is, this is Hyde Park and there’s hardly anyone who DOESN’T think likewise! Especially in the area where that sign resides.

      1. As realtors say, “Location, location, location.” I did not take the sign’s location into account when I considered intent, and you are probably right. If it were posted here in rural Virginia it could be meant to inspire discussion or target practice.

      2. I read the article and comments here, and was not going to add anything, but your statement kept nagging at me.
        Your “chills” are almost certainly based on some false stereotypes. The people who put those signs up outside their homes and businesses are completely normal people.
        If you, during your Texas trip, accidentally left your keys and phone in your car when you stopped to eat or stay the night in one of those towns with all the Trump signs, what do you think the outcome would be?
        The answer is that nothing would happen. Your car and the stuff inside are safe.
        If you are on the road there, and suffer some sort of car trouble that you cannot quickly remedy, there is a pretty good chance that someone with Trump and 2nd amendment stickers on their truck will pull in behind you and offer their help. If helping you means driving you to a distant service station for a can of gas, or even getting under your car to help sort out the bad u-joint, they will be glad to help.
        None of that treatment would be contingent on your political views, race, or identity.

        It is unnecessary to have chills in the presence of people who will only treat you with kindness.

        I hope this did not come across as scolding, because it was not meant that way at all.

        1. I recently visited the site where my (Norwegian) great grandparents settled on a farm in very rural Wisconsin. I had not seen so many still-standing Voldemort signs since November last year.

          My intent was to stop in to the property and ask the owner if I might walk around a bit and take some photos. I had all the research paperwork with me to show someone. When I got there, I saw one thirty-something guy in camo* and he scowled at me as I drove by. I decided it was more prudent to just take a photo of the one extant farm field left on the property (20 acres), which I am certain was exactly where my ancestors had walked and worked. This was far enough away from the house that I was not noticed. (There are lots of “expect a bullet” signs in these sorts of places.)

          Obviously this is a different scenario from car trouble on the side of the road. Would one of these guys stop for a BMW with Minnesota plates? Probably someone would stop eventually.

          (* There are three acceptable modes of dress for adult males in rural Wisconsin: Camo, blaze orange, or Packers.)

          1. Cool, thanks!

            The redistricting after the 2010 census must have been infuriating. MN has a commission that does it, bipartisan. If they can’t agree (happens) it goes to the court system that follows rules. We have logical districts. If we lose a seat this time around there well may be a big fight. Just glad the Dems did as well as they did in 2020. But the GOP held the state senate …

          2. Those people are brave!

            Last fall, amongst the Voldemort signs, I noticed a surprising number of Biden signs up in central Minnesota where my brothers have a cabin (Crow Wing County, Mille Lacs County, Cass County). It was pleasant to see. Like you said: Hope. Biden crushed Voldemort in MN.

          3. And the guy that lives across the county road (200-feet away; but in Anoka County and in Michele Bachmann’s old district) from us (Minneapolis / St. Paul area) has an “Expect a Bullet” sign at the end of his driveway!

          4. I guess we will be left wondering what might have happened if you had engaged them, and explained why you had come.
            I can’t really speak for people up there. I just don’t have experience with those folks.
            I do have to admit that I have “deadly force authorized” signs on our place, as one approaches the main house and my shop. Of course, anyone seeing those signs will have been trespassing for at least a mile by then, and would have already passed the normal no trespassing signs, as well as climbed at least two fences.
            We do see a lot of people on our land. Most of them are just lost, and don’t realize that they have left the national forest. When we see them, we go out there and let them know the best way to get back to the trail, We are always nice about it.
            The signs are there mostly for poachers, or for those who come up to rob the homes of summer people.
            We don’t allow hunting on our place, except that we take an elk or two from the herd in the fall, and distribute the meat to the family. That means we have a couple of large herds of the critters, It is tempting for poachers, which requires vigilance on our parts. The river is an even bigger temptation. My Dad has made our section of the river a lifetime project, with lots of falls and deep pools. He feeds the fish daily. They are almost pets, and are huge. Upstream and downstream of us there are public fishing areas and private fishing resorts. But when a person is caught fishing there, they definitely saw the signs, and are there with nefarious intent.

            I was taught, and taught my kids, to always be looking for an opportunity to help people. Any of us would stop for you, even with Minnesota plates, even if you bought a BMW. In fact, owning a BMW would probably increase the odds that you will end up needing such assistance.

            But my main point comes from something I was taught in early childhood. An advantage of living here is that when grandma is out driving and has a flat, she need only pull over, and some young man will be along shortly to change it for her. But it is a social contract. That guy should also expect that I will do the same when his grandma has a flat. It just makes life easier for everyone.

          5. Well said, thanks for your stories and information. If you don’t mind saying, what river? Your place must be quite large.

            Unfortunately, my experience in rural Wisconsin (and Minnesota) is: The people generally distrust and dislike: People from the “cities” and people with college educations. Driving a BMW means you are a Euro-lover college boy (who thinks he’s smarter than I am).

            On the plus side, mostly they are fine people and will accept you if they take the time to get to know you (and assuming you don’t act like a superior asshole). It helps if you can talk about guns, cars, heavy equipment, hunting, logging, football, etc. I stopped watching professional sports in the 1970s and stopped watching TV in the 1980s. But I can speak about sports semi-intelligently.

            We are going to retire to a site on 20 acres in rural Washington State (but only 90 minutes from downtown Portland, OR). So I worry a little about the things you mention. No river on our place (just a spring-fed seasonal creek) and little hunt-able wildlife. We’ll see.

          6. The Conejos river is the one I am referring to here.

            Most of the ranching families in our area make sure that their kids get a good education.

            I don’t want to hog the comments, but I will pass on one more illustrative story. Most of our family was at what passes for a restaurant, at what passes for a town here. The locals dress either as fly fishermen or cowboys, with a smattering of camo. The restaurant was full of such folks that evening. Also present were a couple of coastal elites (I guess California) at a table near where I was sitting. I eavesdropped on their conversation. They were clearly at the end of a fishing vacation, and had been discussing whether to purchase a vacation home in the area. One of them told the other that people as sophisticated as they are would not be comfortable living among such provincial people. That might be a paraphrase, but he did use the word “provincial”. Now in this case, I know the people labeled as such. There were a couple of cowboys there, but among the “provincials” were people who had PHDs in History and Nuclear Physics,and at least two MDs. There were people who could recommend a good restaurant in Tokyo, Athens, or Amsterdam. There were speakers of German, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, French, and whatever they call the pueblo language that my brother in law grew up with. At least three of the yokels there were rated to fly jet aircraft, and one had earned two silver stars flying in combat.
            The mistake the two made is that they had preconceived stereotypes of ranch folk, and they confused provincial with unpretentious.

            The pattern here is that you send the kids for the best education you can get them, and they are usually glad to get away. They get interesting jobs and travel the world, but find that they need what this sort of lifestyle offers. I can completely understand your retirement plans.

          7. “I was taught, and taught my kids, to always be looking for an opportunity to help people.”

            Seems at odds with threatening signage that reads “deadly force authorized”.

          8. Thanks Max. (I don’t think you are dominating the thread.)

            “They get interesting jobs and travel the world, but find that they need what this sort of lifestyle offers.”

            This is very true. That’s why we are moving to our retirement place. Sounds like a similar lifestyle to where you are. (Thanks for the river name. I’m always curious about where people live, how they met their spouse, the history of their family, etc.)

            We have a similar situation with sophisticated locals (at our retirement place). We are only 90 minutes from Portland and 4-5 hours from Seattle. Most of our neighbors are retired professionals, many with advanced degrees (one a semi-retired commercial airline pilot). This has all happened in the 20 years since I bought the place. Previously, it was all farmers, loggers, etc. I’m sure this change will accelerate as the internet penetrates deeper and broader (pun intended) into our hinterlands and more people work remotely.

            We are right above the Columbia River Gorge (wind surfing hub) on the Washington side. We can do these year-round: Wind surfing, kayaking (white water and sea), mountain and road biking, skiing, mountaineering, hiking, etc. The area is a magnet for young outdoorsy professionals. I would have been in heaven as a 20- or 30-something (and now I will be as a 60-something).

            I climbed Mt. Hood during the summer of my 24th year. As we drove back towards Seattle up Oregon Hwy 35 between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams (fantastic views of both), I thought, “someday, I’m going to live here.” And, it turns out, if things go well and I don’t snuff it between now and then, I will live there, in about a year (on the Washington side, as noted). This is our last summer of commuting to our place.

            (The PacNW was a very different place in the early 1980s. Freedom of the Hills, as the Seattle Mountaineers call it, was still available. Now, my friends in Seattle don’t bother trying to hike on weekends — too crowded. I remember many, many times, seeing no one on outward leg of my day-trips in the mountains. Days gone by.)

        2. Go Max. Folks who post signs for lives that matter or defeated politicians that matter usually are both expressing heartfelt sentiments and either signaling their virtue to like minded individuals or flipping the bird to folks who hate that point of view. Folks who assume the posters are bottom dwelling scum suckers are, to the many decades ago seven-year-old susan, people who “are just stupid”. Six plus decades later my view is more nuanced. They may not be stupid exactly but their reaction to perspectives with which they disagree can be righteously judgmental. I’m not sure which view is more accurate.

  11. The first of these signs put up in a neighborhood probably makes the nearby residents wonder what it means? They decide they agree, pretty much, so they decide to put one up too, in order not to offend the first one…and so on.

  12. As pointed out above, this sign is not a one off. I’ve seen others saying the same thing, and if you google “here we believe sign,” there are multiple examples. It’s to show they are party comrades, so I would say it’s C, B, and D. I would say that A isn’t in play because these people probably wouldn’t have folks in their house who didn’t agree with them

    1. My sign would be more along the lines of
      Here we believe:
      Only in that for which there is evidence.
      Provisionally, even then.
      That social issues are nuanced and one-size-fits-all solutions don’t exist.
      That simplistic sound bites and bumper sticker philosophy cause more harm than good.
      In generally not being jerks to each other for no good reason.

      I think the nuance thing would get my sign vandalized.

        1. Yeah, yeah. I was hoping you’d explain it in an easy way that would prevent my having to do any thinking. Just as I suspected, about a third of the way through the referenced article, my eyes turned to x’s, and I began writing this reply instead.

  13. “Science is real.”

    Then they would automatically believe that trans women aren’t biological women if the logic follows. Or in a more likely case, they’re just talking out of their ass and have no flipping idea what the definition of science actually is.

  14. Whatever the motives, it is the banality of some of the statements that baffle me. “Love is love”. A tautology. “Water is life”. Not if you’re drowning. “Kindness is everything”. Really?

    And why “Here we believe” rather than simply “We believe”. Do they not believe the statements when they are not home?

  15. Similar signs began appearing in my neighborhood in the months preceding the 2020 election–I think as a counter to to the many flashy T**** banners, “don’t tread on me” flags, etc. Given that this is a majority Republican area, there were not many Biden signs. It made me happy to see these signs–just to know that I had company, so I believe the neighbors meant them as a sign of solidarity. By and large the signs are small and near the houses, probably so there is less chance they will be stolen, unlike all the Biden banners that were near the street. People flying the T banners didn’t need to include any messages about gun rights–that is an integral part of the basic message.

  16. For us, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, it’s to show solidarity and to prove, in a jungle of 45 flags and signs, amid very nice people who somehow were conned, or allowed themselves to be conned, who too often take things at face value from the surface of their religion or party, that there are other ways of thinking.

    We hope that at least a few say to themselves “Robb and Vickie are apparently those democrats we’ve heard so many bad things about, but don’t have horns and hooves; they are nice people who’ve helped my 70-year-old husband take down our old satellite dish, and who rang the bell at Xmas and worked at the food pantry. And she’s apparently a 20-year Navy vet and he shoots trap at the local sportsmans’ club but thinks we need responsible gun laws…”

    And at least it may kindle a small flame in their pilot lights.

  17. I see these sort of signs often in San Francisco and the Bay Area and wonder what’s the point of broadcasting these views in communities where everyone mostly agrees with you. In such cases, I consider these signs as moral preening among the elect. It’s a political version of “Holier than thou.” I support all the basic principles in the sign but hate seeing them reduced to a set of bumper sticker slogans assembled for purposes of self-congratulation.

    1. Ha – we all know the California effect! Hippies. As John Lydon said, never trust a hippy.
      (He lives in California now in a house built for Mae West!)

  18. Other signs I see, such as when driving out into the countryside: Lots of Trump campaign posters still up, often with the big Trump flags. Impeach Biden signs. Occasional signs that are related to the above, but far fewer.

    There are 2 ‘Mericuhs.

  19. My house has four obvious doors. On the outside of each one I post signs which read: “Please Use Other Door”. This has the salutary effect that salesmen, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political activists bearing petitions all circle about the house for hours, sometimes collapsing between doors, where they lie until their supervisors come and carry them away.

  20. As usual my thoughts on this are not like any others. The way I grew up you just don’t do this. Old fashion I guess but who you are is your business, not for everyone passing by. Honestly, in the area I live now, no one would put up a sign regardless of what it said about you or advertised about you. I suspect it is illegal (HOA) rules.

    1. “I suspect it is illegal (HOA) rules.”

      I guess even a sign that says, “My HOA hung the moon,” or, “My HOA is pure as the driven snow, or, “My life is nothing without my HOA.”

  21. If I were genuinely puzzled by the point of the sign (I’m not), I would just knock on the door and ask.

  22. I live in Northwest Arkansas, fairly liberal by Arkansas standards but it is still Arkansas. My brother and I often go bike riding in the hills around here and the Trump banners and Confederate flags are way too common. I have seen some of the signs you mentioned out there too, but they are in the minority.

    Perhaps people are virtue signalling, but I would rather believe in this day of Trump, fake news, ONN, and Q Anon some people just have to say “enough is enough, take heart, some sane people still exist”. And I support them.

    So I say, Mr. Peeves, chill.

  23. I live in the Jefferson Park neighborhood in Chicago. I have seen this sign in many yards throughout my neighborhood since before the November election.

  24. Such signs may be virtue signaling. They may be preemptive efforts not to be attacked. The signs don’t also say “All Lives Matter.” I gather that that would create undesired attention/criticism. What with the attacks on Asians, I wonder if they could get by with adding “Asian Lives (Also) Matter.” What with the headlines of the last couple of weeks, I wonder if they could get by with also saying on the sign that “All Adolescents Should Abjure Guns and Knives.” (I think the sign should also say, “For All Our Sakes, Let Us Pray To Divine Providence For Early and Expeditious Pre-Frontal Lobe Development.”)

    1. Anyone who knows people with these signs realizes how ridiculous the “don’t attack me” hypothesis is. It is based on the false idea that supporters of BLM are violent extremists.

      1. Agreed. We fully expected our car might get “keyed” when my wife suggested she put the sticker version on her car.

    2. Shortly after the Atlanta murders #AsianLivesMatter was trending on Twitter and the BLM people went batcrap crazy because their slogan was being appropriated. They were complaining about the hashtag, not appalled at the actual crime.

  25. I don’t know, what’s the point of a Biden/Harris sign? I don’t think anyone expects to change minds and win votes with them. It just advertises “we’re for Biden.” People like to do that. They put signs on their cars, or bumper stickers, for the same reason. Or put it on a T shirt and wear it.

    1. No one would admit it but it seems likely that the relative number of signs supporting a candidate seen in the neighborhood does influence voters if only a little.

  26. Perhaps I should put a sign in my yard that says:

    I believe that all people are assholes, the only question is to what degree.

    Why limit my disdain to pro-tRump, anti- science, bigoted, xenophobic, chauvinistic polluters?

  27. Woke virtue signalers, as well as hypocritical Christians, should heed my favorite Bible verse from Matthew 6:

    “Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
    “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
    But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
    so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
    Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    1. Heavens Jerry, with so much real to kvetch about why post about a “love your neighbour” sign?

  28. These signs are very common here around liberal Madison. I think people are doing this to counteract the negativity and lies, in response to T****. I like it.

  29. What the sign really means is that the person posting it has “recommitted to the resistance”, and did so by donating to Moveon.org.

    The pitch I read was- “Put your beliefs….on your lawn”.

  30. I see these signs in SW PA occasionally. There is another version that a local UU church has on its property.

  31. I’ve not been to Hyde Park but I’ll have a look around (on google.maps) for context – but my money Is all on the virtue signaling and halo polishing. Sad.


  32. A friend has a similar sign in his yard. I have not asked him about it. The sign expresses ideas I am certain he values. He does not need to signal anything in particular. We are a relatively small community and his opinions are well know. He writes letters to the editor, speaks at city and county meetings, is active in politics, and is generally well known. I find such signs a little reassuring in our small town. My signs tend to be more specific about causes.

  33. 1. It is not true that Hyde Park was spared rioting. It was by far not as bad as other parts of Chicago, but phone stores were looted, as was the 47th Street Walgreens, and the Akira store had a controversial pair of security guards on the roof, armed with serious guns, after the windows were broken.
    2. “No person is illegal” is a rhetorical device, to insist on “undocumented aliens” as opposed to “illegal aliens”. Actually, it is not nonsensical: a *person* is not illegal, their *actions* may be (including staying illegally at a place or country.)
    3. While I do not want to broadcast my beliefs, and do not want to limit them to single sentence slogans, others may. In particular, many of these signs went up as a reaction against Trumpists signs people saw on TV. In a secular world such signs are a substitute for crosses, mezzuzahs, or Cubs banners.

  34. Fifty years ago I remember having bumper stickers on my car and slogans in my windows, but I can’t for the life of me recapture the thinking or feeling that motivated it. Whatever it was, nothing remains of it now.

  35. Agree with C and D, to a lesser extent A.

    But also F: To intimidate those with conflicting beliefs. If walking through your neighborhood means you see three or four of these signs — and believe me, in my California college town, that’s exactly what it means — you’ll get the message that those who believe in restricting immigration (for example) aren’t wanted here.

  36. I think I cannot agree to any of these believes because they are false and/or meaningless without the right context.

    “Love is love”: meaningless, like 1 = 1.

    “No human is illegal”: false, if we accept our laws.

    “Black lives matter”: true, but meaningless (because all lives matter).

    “Science is real”: false, reality is made of atoms, molecules etc, science is **about** reality.

    “Women’s rights are Human rights”: meaningless (at least if we accept that women are human).

    “Water is life”; false and meaningless.

    “Kindness is everything”: false, only the universe is everything.

    Just for fun, one of my own: “All slogans are false and/or meaningless”.

    1. Do you not understand that political slogans are shorthand for more meaningful, lengthy ideas? I’d offer to translate for you but I prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Spot on GBJ. It would appear that many of the nattering nabobs of negativity here have neither talked to a person who posts the sign nor read the comments here of those who own the sign. When I told one sign owner of the conversation here and asked what the sign’s meaning might be, the response was “Isn’t it obvious?? 🙂

        The things that are obvious to me are – Here refers to the residents of the home, not some ideas and practices that only happen on a particular property; love can be offered to anyone; human actions can be illegal, but humanity is not [re the rights of LGBT, immigrants, felons, etc.]; BLM speaks to the ongoing killings of blacks by the police as well as by other blacks [it doesn’t say that only black lives matter]; science is real as compared to the Trumpites who would believe a guy who thinks that drinking bleach and sticking a UV light up your ass might cure COVID 19; women’s rights have come a long way, and still have a way to go; water is life, the snark of the drowning comment aside, is a multifaceted statement about a finite resource that is being wasted in myriad ways, polluted and in need of attention at the personal and national level; and if kindness was fundamental to human behavior, the world would be a much better place.

  37. We have this sign. We hope it may jostle some response from EVERYONE that drives by our house. They might think “A holes must live there”. OR “Hmmm, that’s BS. Why don’t I think like that?” So maybe the sign should be framed as questions. “Do you believe….” and the last line should be “Why or why not?” Supporters AND non-supporters should be able to explain their response in words. Not with just a flip of the middle finger.

  38. I found this source of the sign, a MoveOn effort:

    “We’ve always proudly worn our progressive beliefs on our sleeves, but after Trump’s election, we felt that we had to be louder,” said Camm, part of the husband/wife team behind the Here We Believe sign.

    Camm and Becky use their sign—personally—to signal to their community that they’re intent on being proud, progressive change agents. It’s a way for them to share beliefs that are important to them and to start a dialogue with their neighbors at this pivotal moment for our country.

    Positivity—or what we’re for—is at the heart of what motivates and inspires many MoveOn members, like Camm and Becky, to keep resisting the Trump agenda, to keep working for a better future for ourselves and our families.

    https://mpen-ohio.net/2018/01/ About half way down the page.

  39. The vast majority of my neighbors are republicans. So, to keep my peace, I wouldn’t install the sign in my yard. Well, my spouse probably would post the sign just to irritate our republican neighbors.

    If I put a sign of “Kindness is everything,” it is to say that I strive to be kind, not to tell people that I am kind. Now, after reading this post, yeah, I agree that it can be virtue signaling. I am going to remove the Spock poster from my office door. (Is it virtue-signaling by saying this? Darn, I am not sure what to say and what not to say anymore. )

  40. wow. this generated a lot of discussion. I think a good reason for posting these signs is to not participate in silent acceptance of the things they protest. As some have said, that builds social cohesion. Also, this lets bigots know that they are not the majority. Vaclav Havel in “The Power of the Powerless” argues that this sort of “authentic living” is the first step to a free society. Interestingly, his example was not displaying signs that promote the state when one doesn’t agree with it, though, not actively posting signs that one disagrees.

    I also agree with jhs. I live in a rural, republican, and highly armed part of the country. I actually didn’t put up election signs this year because I feared violence after the election. Perhaps a little more social cohesion would be a good thing. Perhaps I should have signaled my virtue a little louder?

    Virtue signaling isn’t always bad, especially when it actually helps prevent vice, perhaps by uniting the virtuous.

    I guess.

    1. “Virtue signaling isn’t always bad, especially when it actually helps prevent vice, perhaps by uniting the virtuous.”
      I have trouble seeing virtue signalling as anything other than a good (with a few caveats) than being a bad thing.

      When people are in a group of like-minded individuals, signalling becomes performative, and in that case we might debate its utility as much other than to show a social hierarchy. I think of the religious going out of their way to make displays of piety, which seem silly when everyone in the community already believes and knows what others believe. In this case, the performative aspect doesn’t do much for the beliefs but everything for the believer.

      But we don’t live in that monoculture world. We need to fight for what we believe in because our beliefs diverge from our neighbours, our friends, and from strangers. And if we keep those beliefs private, those beliefs risk losing out to other beliefs that have much noisier proponents. And some of those beliefs are only effectual if enough other people also hold them. If only a few people recycle properly and others treat recycling bins as trash bins, the effort to recycle is useless. To recycle means needing others to recycle (or at least refrain from soiling the efforts of those who recycle). Signalling is necessary to make that action take place.

      But the biggest virtue of signalling is as a reminder to others of shared values and commitments. It’s not so much to aggrandise ourselves as it is to try to keep the issues that are being put forward as mattering. The talk of violence against women in the workplace seems to me more about keeping the issue in people’s minds as something to try to avoid in the workplace than it does about those saying it gaining from it.

  41. The sign and others like it I’ve seen are clearly a pushback against the Trump cult so I am happy to see them. The Trump cult does plenty of similar things, like Trump lawn signs still up, Jesus signs, Abortion is Murder bumper stickers, etc.

  42. It’s virtue signalling, not that it’s a bad thing to virtue signal. What better way of trying to get the world to be more like your values than to express your values to others?

    I think one of the problems with the label “virtue signalling” is that it makes it seem like our beliefs are performative rather than being sincerely held. When something is dismissed as virtue signalling, it negates that people in most cases truly believe what they are signalling.

    For example, someone getting a cross tattoo, or wearing an item of clothing with the flag of their country. It’s for show to others, yes, but it’s in most cases an honest signal for others of who they are. We mock those who drape themselves in a flag or hold up a Bible to get elected or make a sale precisely because they are trying to exploit an honest signal for their own ends. Most people aren’t that way.

    One strange one “water is life” doesn’t make any sense to me without a context of what the person is trying to signal about. Are there problems in the area with water sanitation or scarcity? Are they trying to promote conservation so that we keep the planet habitable? The phrase may make perfect sense put in the right context, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what the context is.

    1. You make a good point about signaling virtue but I think it is important to remember that the term was (should be?) intended to mean “nothing but virtue signaling”, wherein no actual improvement in the lives of others can be realistically expected to result.

      As for “water is life”, clean drinking water is an increasingly serious problem world wide. How we use water is a political issue, as anyone who has paid attention to politics in the American west over the past hundred years will know. Beyond that, I offer these two words: “Flint, Michigan”.

    2. Water is Life says many things to me – the continued degradation of the oceans and fresh water sources; the wasteful use of water in major cities built in the desert for Kentucky bluegrass, golf courses, irrigated highway right-of ways, etc.; the transformation of semi-arid high plains dry farming land into irrigated wet-farming, draining aquifers such as the Ogallala; the use of millions of gallons of fresh water daily in fracking operations; the lack of safe water for 3 billion people worldwide; etc.

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