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The Tentacle


August 7, 2003

Signs Of The Times…

Bethany Stevenson

"Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs." So goes the great flashback song from the late sixties.

Our family had the great opportunity to travel for three weeks cross-country by car and let me tell me you "everywhere there's signs."

My husband was quite perturbed by the confusion of directions the signs pointed him in Illinois. The "Wall Drug: ONLY 240 Miles" and "Wall Drug: Don't Miss It" signs were the only thing to read in South Dakota.

Of course, the kids loved the signs for the next state we entered or the next time zone, and by the end of the trip our favorite was "Frederick 1 mile."

However, there were some interesting signs that we who are within the realm of the Great Influence of DC would never even imagine you were allowed to post.

As we were traveling through Iowa, we were almost applauding as we past several state-sponsored billboards. (Billboards - as in large enough to be seen from highway distances and speeds.) The first one looked like: So......Abstinence is Uncool? Then STDs and Teen Pregnancy Are Cooler?

A second one was a little less blunt: Abstinence never fails.

Just in black and white. No pictures, no frills. But they were sponsored by the Iowa State Commission for Adolescent Abstinence. If that had been posted here near where the Democrats are afraid we are imposing on their free speech (and forget we can have free speech, too), we would never see even a privately-sponsored advertisement without a battle.

As much as I would love to see an abstinence campaign taken over by the state for our youth, I feel as if our greater challenge, even within my own self, is to be able to grant to each side the ability and the opportunity to voice their position and sides.

As a conservative, I feel that all too often the liberal viewpoint is taken so as not to "offend" anyone. But what they don't realize is that some one IS offended, the non-liberal. From every issue we hear "but your viewpoint constricts me, so therefore to include me, we must liberally loosen the lines." But when we do that we take away from what I believe.

Instead of always liberally loosening the lines, I would like to sometimes see a conserving close to the contours.

Not always, though.

As we see now we have gone too far left and that is not fair to allowing freedom of opinions, so we don't want to go so far right that the left can't have their opinions either. Without one another neither can assume they are correct; however, restricting the ability of one to voice their opinion, which the left has done to the right, is not correct or fair.

So, now we see the signs. Can we all, as the right, the left or otherwise, work together to have our opinions, be educated enough to put them into language that can be shared, then be civil enough to allow others the opportunity to do the same?

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As a postscript, a sign in Chicago quite riled my opinion on some having the right to an opinion: Support a Palestinian State for Peace in the Mid-East Showing pictures of oil wells, I could only wonder at the funding for such a billboard that was posted next to the city near the major highway other than the Skyway through town. Was it local; was it from a terror-based network in the Mideast, or a combination of both? And why would such a billboard be posted in Chicago, when DC and New York are closer to the sources of allowing that to happen? Thoughts from signs......



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