OPINION

LETTER: Campaign signs

Carla Wiegers/Lansing

To the editor:

“Sign, sign everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind, Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

These lyrics to a song released in 1971 by The Five Man Electrical Band probably described your drive to work this morning. Political yard signs are nothing new. Remnants can still be seen on the walls of Pompeii declaring favored candidates of ancient Rome. And in America, John Quincy Adams employed yard signs for the first time in the 1820s.

Campaign signs are now eligible to be put up by those vying for office. You have undoubtedly begun to see them populating near stop lights and rural intersections as well as popping up in people’s yards, non-verbally declaring allegiance to their preferred candidates. This is democracy in action, and we should cherish this competition and representation. 

Lansing USD 469 has a total of seven seats on the school board, and four of these seats are in play during this election. Name recognition is an important strategy afforded by signs. Signs in the yards of our favorite local influencers and along our daily pathways can provide an edge for candidates. 

We must remember, there is a job to be done after the results are in on Nov. 2. Does savvy election and marketing strategy produce the most effective elected officials? A compelling question that we could ask ourselves at all levels of government.

For Lansing schools, the people behind the signs who have the privilege of earning the seats will have to gather in groups, look each other in the eye and work together for the common cause of the education of children. This is turning out to be a very politically tense local election cycle revealing a lot of raw, exposed emotion and displays through social media about various topics. And yes, money from outside sources has been pumped into local elections like never before in our state and other states. These are the conditions of our time, and conditions change and can distract from the goal. Community stakeholders need to focus back on the goal and balance of public education and mentorship, not the attention-grabbing sound bites. 

I believe that our mission, our collective goal of the local education system, should include tasks of academic research in the best delivery of teaching and learning, honest professional development and team building among staff throughout our district, engaging parents and respecting taxpayers with fiscally responsible decision making, all with the ultimate purpose of lifting up and raising expectations of our children and preparing them to engage their world.

– Carla Wiegers/Lansing

Editor’s note: Carla Wiegers is a candidate for the Lansing Board of Education.