First world lawn signs

We are incredibly privileged and fortunate in this community to be able to care so extensively about something as trivial as lawn signs.

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

One of the most recent issues that has arisen for debate in the community is whether LM should put lights on Arnold Field. The field is located directly across Montgomery Avenue from the high school and is surrounded by a residential neighborhood. Arnold Field is one of the biggest athletic fields at LM and almost every sport spends at least some time on it. This fall, football, girls’ and boys’ soccer, field hockey, and girls’ and boys’ cross country can all be seen practicing on or around the field, in addition to girls’ tennis on the courts adjacent to the track.

The issue of the lights resurfaced due to the debate over school start times. Both sides of the argument seem to have strong support. Walking around the neighborhoods surrounding the school, streets are littered with yard signs arguing “No Lights On Arnold Field” or “Let LM Athletes Shine.” Even passing the field itself, you can see one of these signs taped to the metal bars of the gate. My opinion on this subject is simple: it doesn’t matter. Biden, Trump, and BLM signs are commonplace around LM, however, a majority of the houses with signs concerning lights on Arnold Field only have signs concerning that issue. Why would someone feel strongly enough about lights at LM to put up a sign but not strongly enough about elections and movements like BLM that could change the world for years to come? The answer to me is clear: these problems don’t affect many of the people who live in the township. It doesn’t take much to see the divide and privilege LM has. From the higher test scores to the more advanced technology to the sushi served in the cafeteria, LM and the community that surrounds it has a clear difference between it and the schools and communities that are located only miles away. Of course, there is a portion of LM families who are minorities and who these elections and movements strongly affect, but for many families, at the end of the day, we can still go to bed without the threats and worries that face a majority of the US. For families like mine, our taxes might change, we might get mad at our TV screens, we might hear sad stories on the radio, but we never have to count on a tip from an angry customer or stress about rent we haven’t been able to pay for weeks. These signs just highlight the divide and disconnect much of LM experiences in their suburban lives. Today “we” face huge problems like climate change, COVID-19, police brutality, and countless others but if we take a closer look at these problems — global or not — they disproportionately affect those who are worlds away from the reality we live in. Kids whose lungs are being damaged by the effects of a toxic environment are seen at much higher rates in poor neighborhoods, we have already seen COVID-19 hitting minorities and low income workers hardest, and police brutality is, by definition, aimed at black and brown bodies and often seen in impoverished, urban areas. While teens are out in Philadelphia, twenty minutes away, dealing with systemic racism, police brutality and being afraid in their neighborhoods, we are worried about whether or not a kid can see the brand new soccer ball they are about to kick with their brand new cleats. At the end of the day, lights on a field should be one of the furthest things from our minds. Of course, anyone can put up whatever signs they want and keep their political views private or public, but I think it is important for everyone to be aware of the gift that these are the problems that face us.

The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.