Sunday, January 07, 2007

Why I'm Putting Signs on Freeways




The basic premise of freewayblogging is this: when you put a sign up next to a freeway, people will read it until someone takes it down. Given the traffic on today's interstates, that can be a hell of a lot of people. I've put signs on freeways that have reached more people in a couple hours than I'll meet in my lifetime. Believe it.

We've all seen protest signs on freeways before, usually hand-scrawled or spray painted on butcher paper or bed sheets and generally unreadable thanks to tearing or a loose corner flapping in the wind. Signs painted on wood, cardboard or any other stiff medium are easier to paint, far easier and quicker to post and can last practically forever. I can't emphasize this enough: if you want to make signs, use cardboard or plywood. Paint the background white and make the lettering black. If you have extra bed sheets, give them to the homeless.

Over the last four years I've painted and posted over 3,500 signs against the war and the Bush administration by freeways up and down the west coast. Some stay up for hours, some stay up for days. Some stay up for weeks or even months, depending mostly on what they say and where I put them. Large signs placed on overpasses will generally come down quickly, smaller signs attached to trees or peripheral fencing will stay up much, much longer. Signs only need to be as large as it takes to be read and can be placed anywhere within direct sight of traffic. If you can see their windshields, they can see your sign.

The question I'm most often asked about freewayblogging is "Is it legal?" In over 3,500 sign postings I've only been caught by police seven times, and each time with no consequence beyond having to take down the sign. Given that I pick the time, place and manner of posting, the legality almost doesn't matter: I could do this for a hundred years and not get caught. If it ever comes to it though, I'm fully prepared to defend my actions in court. When the founding fathers of this country gave us the right to full and unfettered free speech, they didn't do it as a nicety or some sort of window dressing, they did it so that any citizen could sound the alarm to as many of their fellow citizens as possible during a time of crisis. I speak out against this administration, its war and its policies because I believe they're doing irreparable damage to my country. I use the freeways because that's where the people are.

If you want to send a message to half a million people tomorrow, here's how you do it: Paint about ten signs, stick them in your car with some bungee cords and duct tape, drive to a large city, and stick them up on fencing next to freeways. Be strategic in your placement: use fencing that's easy to see but difficult to reach. The freeways are filled with places where a fence that's only fifty feet away would require miles and miles of driving to actually get to. Finding those places is where the real sport of it -- the fun-and-gamesmanship of freewayblogging -- comes into play. I can't tell you what it's like to stick up a sign that says "The War is a Lie." in front of hundreds of people knowing, like they do, there's not a damn thing anyone can do to stop you. Apart from actual prisoners, you won't find a more captive audience than people stuck in traffic.

The only feeling I can think of that's better is the one I get when I drive by three days later and see the sign is still there. That feeling, the one you get seeing a sign you put up days before, knowing that a couple hundred thousand people saw it too... that feeling is indescribable. Once you've experienced it though, you'll know why I do what I do and why I'm trying so hard to get others to start doing it too.

There's a cancer growing on our society: you can see it on TV, you can hear it on the radio and you can read it in the papers. It's not the poison that they preach, though that's bad enough, it's the fact that by having monopolized the political dialogue they've taught us to believe that we, as individuals, are voiceless... our opinions meaningless. To an extent the left has been guilty of this too: our constant emphasis on "organizing" has led us to believe that we can't have any sort of meaningful impact unless we act as a group. This is bullshit.

It's 2007 now and if you want to speak out against the war or you want to impeach the President and you want to reach half a million people by 2008, start organizing now. If you want to do it by noon tomorrow, go find some cardboard and some paint. That's all it takes.


3 comments:

Psychomikeo said...

I couldn't of said it better myself.
Thanx for the idea & all your help when I decided to take a stand & make my voice hear or in our case my feels read.

And thank you King George II,
you & your gang have pissed me off enough to make me turn off the TV & get mad... mad enough to say "I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it any more!

Mungen_Cakes said...

What he said. This is definitely a Howard Beale moment.

Personally I can't stand to watch the Chimperor Disgustus on the tube. Crap he's inane and condescending. Hey King Crapola, why don't you make a goddamn sacrifice for once and quit for the good of the country. And take Darth with you. Asshole.

Causal said...

Well, our chance to convince Nancy Pelosi to Impeach Bush/Cheney is this Monday Jan. 15th..

Pelosi most likely said impeachment was "off the table" to remove any appearance of conflict-of-interest that would arise if she were thrust into the presidency as a result of the coming impeachment.

What we need to do is to pressure Pelosi not to interfere with impeachment maneuverings within her party. Sending her Do-It-Yourself impeachments legitimizes her when she is forced to join the impeachment movement in the future.

Sacks and sacks of mail are about to arrive in Nancy Pelosi's office initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules this Monday January 15th. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.That's where we come in. In addition to a House Resolution (635), or the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

You can initiate the impeachment process and simultaneously help to convince Pelosi to follow through with the process. Do-It-Yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.

http://ImpeachForPeace.org/ImpeachNow.html