This is not about a stupid yard sign.
I am writing this because 2 days ago I spent several nervous minutes alone in my home as I watched a Save My Fairgrounds petitioner harass me from my front yard. Although I never felt he would hurt me, I was not prepared for the awful, vulnerable feeling in my gut as the older man stood on my property next to my No Racetrack sign while holding up his Save the Fairgrounds sign for passing cars. I suppose in order to further intimidate me, these folks proceeded to slowly drive by in their gaudy Titans bus and honk their horn in front of my house.
Rather than note my opinion, which is on display in my front yard, and move on to the next house, these petitioners chose to take an extra few minutes out of their day to subject me to their hostility and to make sure everyone around knew that they disagreed with me.
I am writing because I don't think enough attention has been paid to the way some racetrack supporters are using tactics meant to harass or intimidate people who disagree with them. Ask anyone who has come out in favor of closing the racetrack. Go read the comments on my op-ed on Browns Creek in the Tennessean. Or if you were at the final Task Force meeting, you might remember racetrack supporter Lisa Leeds cursing and screaming in the face of council member Sandra Moore. Or at the Task Force meeting before that, when a racing fan became aggressive after she asked if I was a member of SNAP. Or at the council meeting last November, where frustrated neighbors sat as racetrack enthusiasts pointed fingers at us at a surprise public hearing and told council that our input was somehow not relevant because we are not over 100 years of age.
Actions like this are meant to stifle the voices of neighbors and are so obviously inappropriate. I know some neighbors have been wary of speaking out due to fear of being targeted by rabid racing fans. And yet I have seen certain council members and the media reward these irrational behaviors with words like "passionate".
No one can deny that racing enthusiasts show up in numbers and are a very vocal group. But I wonder, does one voice matter more over another just because it yells louder? I mean let's face it. Our neighborhood group does not have the money for billboards or a lobbyist. Perhaps I should try getting in the face Councilman Craddock or Dominy or anyone else supporting the status quo at the fairgrounds at the next meeting and really give them a piece of my mind. Oh wait, the rational person in me doesn't think that would effectively get my point across. Does that make me less passionate than Lisa Leeds?
Also, would those council members downplay the actions of the man in front of my house from the Save My Fairgrounds group as something any "passionate" person would do? I should hope not. That was not fun for me, nor was it funny to me. It was an awful experience for me and I think it further shows how easily activism in the hands of some (note: I said "some") "passionate" racing fans can get out of hand.
I am writing this to call them out on it. Enough already.
For the record, I wasn't comfortable confronting the man in my yard by myself. But I did file a police report.