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« I Got Your Ammunition | Main | Near, Far, Wherever You Are »

March 19, 2006


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I have heard other stories about over zealous home owners associations and all I can say is I will never buy a house governed by one.

Michele sent me


It's a thorny issue, isn't it - because while we can all roll our eyes at the "slippery slope" argument ("If we allow this, what's to stop the next person with a cause from erecting their sign, and then what have you got?"), we live in a world where people have been taught by their lawyers that whatever little whim they have, society owes them the right to fulfill it.

I tend to be sympathetic towards the home owners association, if only for this reason (and it may take me a moment to get there, so be patient): often when people make reasonable, well-considered arguments against the war in Iraq (and especially if those people are Democrats), the Administration immediately accuses them of "not supporting the troops". It's a vile charge, because in every case it's demonstrably untrue and a slander against the person being vilified. A charge like that, though begs a response, and when that exchange goes on, it skilfully deflects attention from the real issue, which was the reasoned questions being asked. This kind of tactic has created an atmosphere where people dare not question ANY policy because they'll have this allegation levelled at them.

I don't know, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that the chair of the homeowner's association - being a veteran of the War in Iraq - finds the issue personally painful. And I'd bet he especially resents the implication that in refusing to allow the sign, he somehow doesn't support the troops.

It's not the content of the sign that is at issue, of course. The Association isn't picking on this woman's personal views, nor denying her the opportunity to express those views. But because of the sign's relatively benign content, the media can MAKE it an issue, especially playing on the irony of several members of the Association being veterans.

You are completely right. There are any number of ways to distort a news story. One is to offer up facts selectively. Another is to offer up facts in such a way that you impart greater weight to one argument over another. And one is to simply omit or alter inconvenient facts, or position them in a way that alters the big picture.

Here's an example, taken from what little I know about this story, but with some additional information that is also demonstrably true:

Stacy Kelley has been told to take down a sign urging support for our troops. The Homeowners association asked her to take it down. The Chair of the Association is a veteran of the War in Iraq. Some veterans of the War in Iraq have come back disgusted with what's going on over there. Some people think a sign like Kelley's shows wholehearted support for government policies.

Every single statement is a FACT. Yet the injection of two essentially irrelevant facts - what some vets think about the war and what some people think about those signs - changes the big picture of the story, and creates meanings that aren't there. All of a sudden, what was a story about keeping neighbourhoods relatively free of the rot of unsightly signs, this becomes an issue of patriotism.

Kudos to you for making sure all the facts are there, and laid out dispassionately, and making your own feelings clear. Don't we all wish some major news organizations (Hi, Fox News!) would do that?


And a very well written opinion it is, Laura. We have to take most of what we read with a grain of salt until we are sure we know "the rest of the story". Too bad your friend is naive enough not to realize that. Critical thinking requires us not to simply accept everything we see in print unless we can verify it ourselves.

Florida Cracker

This post is just proof of your honesty. You could have moved on, but instead chose to share the facts you did not know at the time of the first post.

I thought "your voice" was right on in this post. Very well done.


Thanks for visiting my site and glad that I could help the "septic" issue :) -- as far as this goes, it is one of the reasons I would NEVER move to a home that had such an association. I don't EVER want anyone to tell what I can and can't do to my own property. If I want to put up a sign supporting (or not supporting as the case may be), it should be MY decision not some assocation of 7 people. Such rules tend to run to the ridiculous. However, once there and once governed by such an association, I think you unfortunately have to deal with it -- you go in with both eyes open and unfortuntately the consequences are such that each person needs to follow the rules in order to keep things under control -- I don't agree with it but....


Good post, Laura. Sometimes common sense has to win out.


There are usually more than "one side" to a story. I think we should look at anything we read critically - just cause it's in print doesn't mean it isn't slanted!

btw - we're back (with pics and all!)

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