Vandalism increases as political tension rises


Photo by Paige Harrington

A trend on Tik Tok encourages users to steal Trump signs to paint them. Common phrases painted on the signs include Dump Trump, ACAB, BLM and a pride flag.

In early August, a MAGA sign was vandalized in Cowley county. President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”, was covered by the words “resist” and “BLM” in spray paint. Since then, vandalism has spread to other cities around Kansas with big and small cities reporting the destruction of political signage.

Just off of 7th Street, A billboard that read “Vote Blue” was vandalized earlier this month and a recent Trump 2020 sign put up in front of Ohio Street could be next with similar signs being destroyed around the nation.

“Vandalism doesn’t have a political effect and serves more as psychological warfare against the other side,” sophomore Dayne Locke said. “I think people do it extreme but do it to try and make the other side look worse.”

The vandal responsible for destroying the Democratic sign spray-painted the word Trump over “Vote Blue” and while the Trump 2020 sign on Ohio Street remains intact, the possibility of vandalism grows as political tensions increase. 

“My best guess of why it was vandalized is just stupidity. Political bias is prevalent in our society right now,” government teacher Rick Hess said. “It’s kind of like the guy last week who stole a bulldozer from a construction site so he could knock down yard signs. Makes no sense.”

James Blight, a resident of Florida, stole a bulldozer from a construction site to dig up signs supporting the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. More locally, two signs supporting Trump were burned on the 200 block of W. 6th Ave, outside of Breckenridge Hotel in Emporia.

“I think it is childish to both destroy political signs and to throw a fit over the said destruction of political signs especially when teenagers and children are the ones destroying them,” senior Breuana Matney said, “ It sends a political message for sure, but it is also just a sign. That piece of cardboard has no political affiliations, so for people to argue over what sign is in someone’s ear, buy a different one, or better yet go vote.”