Hey kids, did you know that your Homeowners Association has more power than the Federal government? Well, neither did I until yesterday. I came home to find an envelope taped to my door, a notice from my friendly HOA. I assumed it was about my lawn, which is a disaster. No, the knee-high weeds weren't the issue. It was my lawn sign. What I had failed to notice in the HOA's covenant is that signs, even those expressing support for a political candidate, are verboten.
Not realizing I had signed away my First Amendment rights when we moved into this neighborhood, I called the woman who heads up our HOA. Her argument was, if she let people do whatever they wanted, the neighborhood would quickly devolve into a ghetto.
I suggested that putting up a candidate's sign in my yard and turning my cul-de-sac into a ghetto weren't quite in the same ballpark and reminded her that political speech was protected by the Constitution. Then she asked me when the Constitution was written. I told her 1789. Then she said, assurance of her rightness swelling her voice, "And things have changed a lot since then, haven't they, sir."
I told her I had missed the news that the Bill of Rights had been amended to keep up with the times.
After 15 minutes, I knew that debating the fine points of Consitutional law was like explaining the ferris wheel to my dog. So I assured her that I would not remove my sign and said that if she was going to have me arrested give me a few hours notice so I could call the local news media.
Then I called my lawyer and guess what? My HOA does have the power to restrict my political speech. The city can't. The state can't. Not even George Bush can make me take down my yard sign.
But my HOA can.
So I'm writing a letter to the local paper, writing to the ACLU and, well, telling you. I've also asked when the next meeting of the HOA board is so I can attend. We'll see what happens.
But as it stands, I am not giving up. Too many people were brave enough to fight for my free speech, I'm at least brave enough to use it. Fuck the HOA.
And as soon as the housing market settles down, we're moving. I hate the fucking 'burbs. Bunch of uptight little fascists.