A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Support the Troops" Wars over war

My eyes just about popped outta my head as I saw this story about an Army wife being fined for a "Support the Troops" yard sign.

Get this, as posted on aol,
When Stacey Kelley's husband, Army Pvt. David Kelley who is serving in Iraq, sent her a cardboard sign expressing support for U.S. troops overseas, she put it up in the yard of her suburban Tampa, Fla., home.

Kelley, 24, never imagined that it would raise controversy, or that she would be threatened with a $100-a-day fine if she refused to take it down....

It was an issue that caused a conflict for the association's president, who is also an Army reservist. Daryl Manning, an Iraq War veteran, said he hoped that some compromise could be worked out.

"I've been there. I know right where her husband is. I've been in [the] country. I was over there for 20 months," he said.

A compromise was reached Thursday night, but it doesn't mean Kelley won't be facing a fine -- just one a lot lower than the amount originally threatened. Instead, the seven-member board voted to impose just a $1-per-day penalty for as long as the sign stays up.

The fine will eventually go up if Kelley doesn't take the sign down, Manning said.

"There's a violation to have any sign in any homeowner's yard, regardless of what it says," Manning said.

Manning said the association's rules about signs, which only allow "For Sale" or "For Lease" signs, were in place to keep the community clean and keep the peace.

"The problem could arise where it could be a neighbor across the street or across the road that says, 'Bring the troops home. Get out of the theater. Cut and run.' What happens when that occurs? So we cannot make exceptions in this case," he said.

Hmmm, so "Support Our Troops" is a code message for "We're For the Iraq War," and "Bring the Troops Home" DOESN'T support the troops?

No secret that I am opposed to this war, and am deeply suspicious of the myriad excuses we were given for getting into it, or the larky way the mission was declared accomplished incredibly prematurely for a photo op and so on and so on. But I do support our men and women who are fighting and spilling their blood. A few of them are former students of mine. They are following orders, and trying to do their jobs with honor and the best motives. But I don't think the two messages are in opposition. Maybe I am incredibly naive.

I also find it interesting that Manning has no problem banning Kelley's sign on just the CHANCE that it might lead to someone else expressing a slightly different opinion that apparently he wouldn't like. Oh, what WOULD happen then? Maybe a chance for people to debate openly like adults?

Perish the thought.


At 3/12/06, 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not about politics at all. It is about the power of homeowners' associations, which can be a major headache for the unwary resident.

"Manning said the association's rules about signs, which only allow "For Sale" or "For Lease" signs, were in place to keep the community clean and keep the peace."

Many communities (such as the one I'm staying in now) have such restrictive rules. Gated communities, condo communities, etc. -- it's common. They are often called "covenants and restrictions" or "community covenants and restrictions" (CCRs)--here's a sample, grabbed at random from the web: Huntington Place Phase III: "10. SIGNS.No signs of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any Lot, except one sign of not more than six square feet, advertising the property for sale or rent, or signs used by a builder to advertise the property during construction and sales of Lots and residences, or signs used by the undersigned to identify the Subdivision and to advertise sales of Lots and residences in the Subdivision. House numbers on homes or mail boxes are permitted."

The fines are not out of line. I think the fines here (for the place I'm staying) are $250/day for non-compliance on some articles.

Trying to make it be about politics or free speech rights is not necessarily a sophisticated response.

At 3/12/06, 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's not anonymous on the previous comment, it's me, Liz, from I Speak of Dreams

At 3/12/06, 8:16 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Well, that would be a fine bit of criticism, if one of the stories had not mentioned that there were other signs up in the neighborhood besides the For Sale variety. I didn't mention it because I provided links to the articles so you could read them for yourself-- that's what links are for.

At 3/12/06, 9:39 PM, Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said...

The head of the homeowner's assoc. and the soldier's wife were on one of the news shows this morn. I was getting ready for church but I do remember hearing the fine had been waived. Now isn't that nice?!

At 3/12/06, 10:29 PM, Blogger AverageMom said...

Wow. This is my first time here (your comment at my place led me here) and I love it!
I'm off to read more of your archives, but I'll blogroll you for another day.

At 3/13/06, 11:47 AM, Blogger kontan said...

if you have a homeowners association you have rules...should be enforced across the board though. wonder if there is any restriction for yellow ribbons, way to get around the rule and still say the same thing...


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