Like a Good Neighbor, Big Brother Is There
It is the defining question of every community across the land, maybe the core issue facing American society.
How do we get people to stop parking cars in their front lawns?
One approach is simple: Ask the owners to move the vehicles. If you’re feeling a bit more aggressive, fines can be levied against violators to “encourage” action. Local governments could just tow the cars away without warning.
Authorities in Manassas Park, Virginia, are employing a less direct approach. Sneaky, actually.
It is a covert operation that would make James Bond proud: Officials are giving children coloring books. Special ones.
That’s because these coloring books—titled “Being a Good Neighbor”—contain messages against overcrowded houses, outdoor furniture, and uncut grass. And yes, they let kids know that leaving cars on your lawn just isn’t nice.
The book’s critics claim it targets new immigrants and manipulates children. Its creators, on the other hand, say it helps inform families about the need to clean up their property and display good citizenship. Consider the book’s seek-and-find, a case study in neighborly terms like “zoning,” “overcrowding,” and “inspections.”
You might not be surprised that this gives me some ideas on other ways to promote citizenship.
Public Punishment. Let’s bring back the scarlet letter, the whipping post, and the guillotine. For every couch on your porch, it’s two lashings. A car on the lawn gets you tarred and feathered. Tie up gimps in your basement for fun? You’ll be burned at the stake.
Town Hall Hypnotism. Gather everyone together in a big auditorium and give them subliminal orders to behave. What better way to train a community to treat each other nicely than to have them do it unconsciously?
Tag, You’re It. The best citizens can obtain the ultimate reward—political office. Think of the benefits: expense accounts … job-for-life incumbency … supple and willing young interns. You even get to come up with loony ideas to test on the general public.
Like good neighbor coloring books.