Thanks to Helen Ubinas for alerting Daily News readers to the new Republican lawn signs, titled "Love Lives Here." The signs talk about Republicans' love of God, family, friends, country, community and the U.S. Constitution. I've been distributing these signs, and I have a good idea of the rationale behind them and why I think they are a good idea.
Sure, they might be a pushback against the "No Home for Hate" signs, but they are also a lawn manifesto of conservative values. They are also seen as a positive affirmation against the meme that Republicans and conservatives are mean and callous.
This label on conservatives has been particularly virulent during the debate over repealing Obamacare. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, "I've read the Republican 'health care' bill. This is blood money. They're paying for tax cuts with American lives." Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders issued similar statements.
This rhetoric from a leading Democrat in the wake of the shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise is more demonizing rather than debating. It is exactly the type of statement that breeds resentment. It feeds into the notion of those vowing to resist Trump at all costs that physical action might be needed to stop him and conservatives from killing people.
When I talked with Bob Gillies, the creator of the "Love Lives Here" signs, he told me he and his fellow Springfield Township Republicans are trying to use their signs to inform new people moving into Montgomery County that Republicans are not haters, racists or exclusive.
The signs have become so popular that he is getting orders from around the country. He will soon roll out T-shirts, tote bags and many other items. Would you be offended if you saw someone wearing the shirt? Would the tote bag set you off?
Would the expression of love of God make you think the shirt wearer wants to dictate morals to you? Would the love of country make you feel your patriotism is under fire? Would love of the U. S. Constitution require a trigger warning so you could avoid seeing it?
The battle over lawn signs is much more than a conservative versus liberal spat. It is a battle between traditional America and non-traditional America. President Trump's election just took it to a new and ubiquitous level.
I see the "No Home for Hate" signs as virtue signaling, which, to me, is taking a conspicuous action to show your virtue or goodness. These signs started to appear very soon after Trump was elected. They didn't start when he instituted the refugee ban. They clearly state that the homeowners with signs feel Trump is a hater and bigot. Many of my listeners who support Trump feel the signs are calling them bigots and haters. This makes them annoying at best and offensive at worst.
That might be why Republicans are embracing the new signs. The head of the New Britain/Chalfont Republicans told me on my radio show that their float for the big July Fourth parade will consist of arranging the "Love Lives Here" signs on the float to tell everyone these are the values that move them and everyone is welcome. He emphasized that the float was an attempt to get people to talk with Republicans and get to know them.
I have no problem with either side using lawn signs to get their message out. Some conservatives have contacted me to object, saying that placing the American flag at your house is the only symbol needed. I think these signs will make for interesting conversations across many Delaware Valley neighborhoods.
If you're interested in the signs, T-shirts, tote bags, etc. reach Bob Gillies at www.LoveliveshereintheUSA.com . This is the hottest item I've ever given out in all my years of doing talk radio in Philadelphia. I feel Gillies and the others were inspired when they created the signs.