I like the idea of adopt-a-highway programs. When I was a kid, and the concept was first introduced, I had it in my head that this meant I could actually go live at the side of the highway. But I was never that bright.
No, what it means is a group’s donation funds cleanup of that stretch of road. It’s a great idea, and allows civic groups to do their part. And it makes for cleaner highways.
The main problem with it, though, is it’s hard to say no when groups want to pay up. Because not every group’s name looks good on a sign. Take this one, for instance. While it’s awfully kind of the KKK to want to clean up the highway, it’s a blight on that community, wherever it is.
Because of First Amdendment rights in the U.S. municipalities haven’t had many options when it comes to stopping this from happening. Basically, if you’re a hate group but you’ve got all the paperwork, you can put your signs up. It leaves people fuming, knowing they’re powerless to stop these morons from legitimizing their stupid racism. But there was nothing anyone could do.
Until now. A state representative in Springfield, Missouri, Democrat Sarah Lempe, managed to add some language to a transportation bill that renamed a section of road the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway, after a rabbi who marched with Martin Luther King.
Why is this important? Because that stretch of road had already been adopted by the National Socialist Front, also known as the American Nazis. So now, wherever their stupid Nazi signs appear, there’s a sign with the rabbi’s name on it, too.
Lempe, who said this “levels the playing field,” is my new hero. There’s nothing better than sticking it to racial hate groups, unless you’re sticking it to them publically. And in a new, funny way.