With less than two weeks remaining until the presidential election, Texas cities have experienced an uptick in politically-motivated misdemeanors.
Proliferation of theft and defacement of political yard signs has been a particular problem. Things have gotten ugly in some cases, particularly in Lubbock.
The Huffington Post said that vandals in Lubbock wrote a racial eptithet repeatedly on two large signs supporting President Barack Obama, as well as spraying it with mustard. (The symbolic importance of mustard is unknown to TMDailyPost as of this writing.)
Kenny Ketner, chairman of the Lubbock Democratic Party, held a press conference Sunday to address these acts and the ongoing theft of Democratic yard signs in the Hub City.
“Hundreds of Obama yard signs have been stolen from neighborhoods all across Lubbock,” Ketner said. “We have had over half a dozen of our large 4×4 and 4×8 signs stolen, vandalized, or shot.”
Quantinette Richardson, a Democratic Party supporter in Lubbock who had her yard sign defaced, told everythinglubbock.com that this issue is a serious concern.
“It makes me upset, it makes me angry, and sometimes kind of scared for my safety because my front window is where my son sleeps at night and apparently that is when the vandalism is occurring,” Richardson said.
In his comments Sunday, Ketner equated the use of the racial epithet with a hate crime, but refrained from pointing fingers at the opposition party.
“Please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t mean to say that every Republican is racist,” Ketner said. “But we are not going to sweep this problem under the rug like we always do in Lubbock.”
Carl Tepper, chairman for the Lubbock County Republican Party, said members of his party have also experienced theft of their yard signs, Ariel Kirkland wrote for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Tepper doesn’t believe his party is responsible for the racial disparagement perpetrated in the vandalism and he encouraged Lubbock residents to express their political views through the proper channel: voting.
“If some signs annoy you, take them out on the polls,” Tepper said.
Lubbock isn’t the only hub for racially-charged political vandalism. Over the weekend a Beamont couple experienced similar property damage.
John and Suzanne Stafford woke up Saturday morning to discover their front yard had been defaced, according to the Beaumont Enterprise. Vandals had spray-painted racial epithets and vulgar images on their front driveway, an “Elect Obama” yard sign, and a sign supporting former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson.
The Staffords’s neighbors, even those of opposing political views, were aghast at the ugliness of the scene.
“Freedom of speech is one thing, but defacing someone’s property is uncalled for,” Graydon Parchmont told Julie Change of the Beaumont Enterprise.
Yard signs and Democrats aren’t the only targets for ideological hoodlums in Texas. CBS News reported October 18 that a politically-themed Halloween yard display in Colleyville was defaced by vandals.
Barry Leibowitz wrote that every year home owners Melissa and Glenn Cruson build a Halloween display with a topical or pop culture theme. This year their display featured a life-sized Obama hanging in a spider web next to a clown suit-bedecked Joe Biden. Republican nominee Mitt Romney was depicted riding a giant spider like a horse. The Crusons discovered that vandals had removed the heads of the figures, an American flag, and shredded their pro-Romney signs. They rebuilt their display sans spider web figures, but kept the message clear. Now a large sign says, “Thieves took the clowns, but the circus still remains.”