With election season in full force, it is hard to turn on the TV without getting bombarded with negative political advertisements. Even in North Dakota, a place chock-full of some of the friendliest people I have come across, aggressive political ads still pepper every station. Ah well, such is election season, I suppose. However, in between political ads the other day, I managed to squeeze in some solid History Channel watching and happened to catch a marathon of the show ‘How the States Got Their Shape”. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it for any one with a slight nerd side.
As I was sitting there catching up on my American history, an image came across the screen that I immediately recognized. “That’s in North Dakota!” I screamed. This was particularly amazing because I was definitely not watching the episode about North Dakota. In fact, here is the link for an episode that talks about North Dakota and, specifically, Fargo (it is towards the end of the episode). The image that popped up on my TV was of a billboard, on a highway, in the middle of nowhere, that simply said, “Be Polite.” I am very familiar with this particular billboard because I pass it every time I have to go take my cats to the vet in Casselton. This billboard is not alone, however. On the way to Grand Forks there is a billboard that reads, “Be kind”, and I believe I have seen another one that says, “Be Grateful”, and another that urges you to just “Smile.”
Every time I pass any of these billboards, I can’t help but smile (even when I’m not passing the one that tells me to smile). “Only in North Dakota”, I always think to myself. I have no idea who is behind these signs, but they certainly bring a little cheer to weary travelers on an endless interstate… or at least to me. So, even though we have a little while longer before the onslaught of negative political ads end, and even though that this is all a part of election season, I can still wishfully encourage the candidates to take the billboard’s advice and please… be kind.