Around this time of year in America, little blue or red signs start appearing on roadsides, on trees and all over people's lawns, urging us to cast our votes for local politicians. Election Day is looming (something I am not particularly thrilled about, because it means the kids are off school, but naturally it is NOT a public holiday, so I am supposed to be working).
While there's no obviously Presidential election this year (I can't wait to see what next year is like), we are being exhorted to vote for County legislators, police commissioners, town controllers and all kinds of legal positions including Supreme Court judges. The 'lawn sign' is an equivalent of you poster in the window saying 'Vote Labour' or 'Vote Conservative', but they are much more ubiquitous, as are car stickers.
I find it all slightly meaningless, because I can't vote due to not being a citizen, but this year I actually know somebody who is standing in a local election - the mother of one of the boys' friends. She's very nice, and a Democrat, so when I bumped into her recently I explained that while I wasn't allowed to vote for her, I wished her all the best. So she asked me if I wanted to put up a lawn sign, and I agreed. When in Rome and all that. (My German friend, on seeing me carrying the thing, teased me: "Finally, you have Arrived!")
Well, the sign was up on my lawn for a total of 48 hours. Coming back from the shops on Saturday, I noticed that it seemed to have been ripped in half, and was hanging forlornly off its poles. There was no sign of anyone nearby, except for some kids playing with a hockey stick and a rather guilty-looking squirrel that was running away, with what looked like a piece of cardboard hanging from its jaws.
So now I don't know what to think. Was this the work of furious new neighbours, outraged that I had dared to put a political sign on the lawn just weeks after moving in, however discreetly placed in the corner (I notice there are no others in our street)? Had the kids had been using it as a hockey goal? Or (sinister music starts to play) do I have Republican squirrels?