Stealing political yard signs is unacceptable, illegal, and immature, but it’s something that’s been going on for years and has almost become part of the political process here in Virginia. As a part of their overall strategy to paint themselves as morally superior to Democrats, however, the Fairfax County Republican Party and many of its candidates seem to have suddenly sparked an interest in leading a discussion on sign theft.
Perhaps the most coordinated discussion about yard signs being stolen can be found in the aftermath of someone stealing signs from Andi Bayer’s yards. Bayer is running for school board from the Providence District and has apparently had so many signs taken from her yard that she installed a video camera in an attempt to catch whoever’s responsible. It’s truly unfortunate it got to that point, but they’ve now being using the situation as a way to smear other candidates.
This is especially the case in the Sully District, where the Sully Republicans highlighted one of my blog posts by claiming it was part of “a leftist agenda” before adding “and please, whoever it is, stop stealing Andi Bayer’s signs. You’re on video now.” Why would they bring this up in response to someone living outside Bayer’s district unless they wanted to imply that individual stole the signs as part of their “leftist agenda.” (For the record, I had absolutely nothing to do with it and find it rather hilarious that they implied I did. Their comments about me were actually the first time I heard about Bayer’s signs disappearing from her yard.)
Republicans from the Sully District haven’t stopped there as Tom Wilson, who represents Sully on the school board, has joined the cause. Wilson posted about Bayer’s yard signs being stolen, claimed his own literature was scattered through various neighborhoods, and made a point of mentioning his opponent during all of this.
“I don’t blame my opponent at all,” Wilson said in a clear attempt to bring her up in connection to a discussion on someone stealing yard signs. “Emotions run high during election season, but let’s keep everything in perspective and keep the focus on the issues.”
It’s perfectly reasonable to highlight frustration surrounding folks stealing yard signs, but there’s a way to deal with it that doesn’t accuse completely unrelated candidates and activists of being responsible. An example of this can be seen in how Meredith Keller from Texas discussed Beto O’Rourke signs being stolen during last year’s election.
“My signs were stolen twice from my yard, someone taped literature to them to let me know how wrong I was about Beto, and I heard people yell ‘Beto sucks’ outside,” Meredith tweeted. “On election day, someone stole all of his signs from my polling location.”
She made it clear this wasn’t just folks taking a Beto sign to make sure they had one for their own yard, but also managed not to say it was part of some radical agenda that involved other campaigns. The local Republicans here in Virginia just can’t seem to do that. Unfortunately, this just part of a larger trend as they’re trying to Trumpify our schools while being caught blatantly lying during community forums.