Front lawn in West Hills shows signs of the times

You won’t find politics on Jade Waters’ front lawn, but you’ll find plenty of democracy.

This West Hills mom has touched a sensitive nerve in her neighborhood with more than 30 placards she’s put up since early March after the coronavirus hit, and into summer when the presidential election started heating up.

Her husband of 29 years, Scott, asked only one thing of his wife – please, no politics. He wanted to avoid any damage to their property, he said, and he wasn’t joking. She understood. Freedom of speech only goes so far in 2020 before it can turn ugly real fast.

“I did not start off intending to be the crazy, yard sign lady,” Jade said. “My daughter (24) thought it was a great idea, my son (27) didn’t have an opinion. He just thinks mom’s kind of a nut.”

Some nut.

Her first sign was a poem poster that spoke of a more hopeful day after COVID, when we’ll be able to appreciate all the little things we’ve always taken for granted, and now realize it. She followed that up with “Let’s Stay Home.”

Then came “Truth Matters,” “We Are Better Than This,” and her go to posters all over the lawn – “Vote!”

Women’s rights, civil rights, equal rights — all the rights that a democracy offers its citizens made it onto Jade’s front lawn.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden didn’t.

Her front yard became an outdoor art gallery as she put her messages in frames and used paper flowers to draw in viewers. And, view the signs the neighbors did. She could see them from her kitchen window stopping on their walks to check democracy out.

But, that was it. Months went by with no feedback. “I couldn’t understand it,” she said. “None of my messages were hateful or controversial. They were positive and hopeful, but I was getting no reaction.”

Did people not care or did they just not want to voice an opinion? She wasn’t taking political sides or telling people whom to vote for. All she was saying was vote. When did that become so controversial in a democracy?

Then, one morning last month, it finally happened. She found a painted rock by one of her signs. “Be At Peace,” was written on the rock. Okay, Jade thought, someone finally realized what I’m trying to do here.

It wasn’t more than a few days later when she got the first of many knocks on her front door. It was an older couple. “We’ve been walking by your lawn every day, and we just wanted to say thank you,” they said.

People started to recognize her and wanted to meet the woman in their neighborhood who was saying on her front lawn what they were feeling inside.

Not one person had a bad word to say about democracy. Politics was a different story.

The day after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Jade hammered in her last placard in the justice’s honor. On it, she had written the lyrics to Helen Reddy’s, “I Am Woman.”

Hear democracy roar. Vote!

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