Critical cardboard

Design by Jared Dobro

When you drive around your neighborhood or any town, what do you notice? What do you see that most houses have nowadays? Cardboard squares.

As we all know, right now is a popular time to have signs that infer people’s political affiliation on their front lawn. These signs are everywhere. You drive around and see one that says, “Trump &

Pence 2020” and the next house says, “Biden & Harris 2020.” Our country has been polarized for a while, but currently, discord around politics has been put to the test in more ways than one.

Every day we are living through history. However, what’s happening right now is extremely pivotal and can potentially have long-lasting effects on certain communities. There is a global pandemic, there is an upcoming presidential election, and arguably most importantly, there are social justice movements taking place in every state. People of all backgrounds are uniting and creating noise to fight against the systemic racism that is present in the United States.

Clearly, there is a lot going on.

With that in mind, why do people feel the need to put these signs out? Most just want to show that they are supportive of a certain candidate or movement. Still, for what purpose? I think many people in this country feel the need to prove who they are or what they are. They want to show what they stand for and who they stand with. A sign sharing their political affiliation has a way to demonstrate all of that. As we see these signs like “Biden,” “Trump,” or “Black Lives Matter,” “Back the Blue” you can’t help but to have some preconceived notions of people’s opinions and beliefs. If anything, that just demonstrates how polarized this country really is.

The cardboard signs aren’t the only tools being used to demonstrate some of these ideas.

Those in the younger generation are taking it upon themselves to voice their opinions. They are promoting awareness in their communities while creating intimate groups with their peers to try to enact change. They are speaking up on various social media outlets to show their followers what their thoughts are.

Instagram consists of people constantly posting to their story. Twitter consists of people retweeting their favorite politician’s comments that are in line with their own views. Facebook is occasionally used by “Gen Z,” even though it's not their first go-to. Nonetheless, it’s still young adults trying to create conversations because they’re reaching to those older than them, in most occasions their relatives. They want to show them their new purpose in involving themselves in these important matters that are being discussed.

The obvious state of this country is weighing heavy on everyone, and sometimes it’s difficult to try to escape. You see it while scrolling through social media. You turn on the TV and there it is, being broadcasted on every news outlet there is. You go for a drive to listen to music and see these green areas filled with cardboard squares.

Everywhere we go, there are constant reminders of what’s going on.

Personally, I drive around my town and can’t help but to feel these mixed emotions. One house makes me confused and the next makes me relieved. It’s the state of most neighborhoods right now. Some of the signs you see make us reflect on who people really are. This just makes people even more motivated to be part of the discussions to create change.

However, we have to remember to not let these constant reminders get the best of us. We have to be sure to take time for ourselves. Still, sometimes you feel bad because you want to continue to become informed and educated on these crucial issues. You find yourself constantly scrolling on news outlets or Twitter; until you realize two hours go by and maybe you should put your phone down.

There is no need to feel guilty for taking a break. At the same time, we need to recognize that others have been living with certain realities in this country for a long time, while others have been just notified of them.

With that in mind, it’s still important to maintain the momentum. It’s pressing to continue to utilize those tools to continue to be an ally.

Everyone has their own way of supporting the social justice movements. Some may go to the protests with their peers, while others that may not be able to attend continue to be productive in other ways. Whether it’s participating in the protests, posting to spread awareness online, donating, initiating conversations or whatever you choose to do, the crucial factor is to continue these acts. Doing one deed over another doesn’t mean you are any better of an ally. It is all imperative and the important takeaway is to continue to have the sense of urgency to inquire about change.

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