Letter to the Editor: Out of Petty Theft Came a Friendship and More

On Aug. 22, two Biden campaign signs that I had placed on my property earlier that day were run over by someone driving through our ditch and then stolen, along with several of our neighbors’ signs. This is petty, childish and counterproductive behavior. I ask whoever did this to please stop. 

For anyone who thinks of doing something similar, as I have also done myself at times, please refrain from infringing on others’ free speech. It does not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. We bought four more signs to replace the two that were stolen.

However, I would also like to thank whoever stole our property for two unexpected blessings that came from that action.

First, a Door County Sheriff’s Office deputy was nearby when I called and stopped to talk. The resulting conversation was wonderful. We began – masked up and socially distanced – talking about the theft. The officer said this theft was frustratingly common this fall, but that it was the first call the officer knew of reporting stolen Biden signs. This surprised me and taught me something.

The conversation then took an unexpected turn into politics. The officer came from a different background and held different views than I did, but we were both open to talking, asking questions and learning. The resulting conversation was among the best political conversations I have had in my entire life. It was a heart-warming reminder of what political discourse can look like. I am very grateful to this officer – and to the Door County Sheriff’s Office – for this interaction.

Second, this theft led me to visit a neighbor I had not met whose sign was also stolen. I met the family’s daughter and two grandsons. After months of lockdown, making new friends felt as good as getting the second helping of fries at Wilson’s. 

Out of petty theft came a friendship – and a slightly stronger neighborhood – than had been there before. Let us all try to find ways of finding blessings in occasionally ugly actions this fall. Our community depends on it.

Nicholas Epley

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin