Between Rock Hill and York, on S.C. 161, there is no secret about how Reggie Bursey feels about President Barack Obama with the election just a month away.
The latest brightly covered signs that cost several hundred dollars apiece, facing drivers coming from both directions, read simply: “Save America Nov 6 2012 Mitt Romney.”
The huge signs at Bursey’s collision repair shop are meant to get your attention on one of York County’s busiest stretches of road. Bursey puts the signs there on his property at his expense. He works in a shop next to the signs.
Bursey is a conservative, he wants the Republican to win, but unlike so many on any side of politics where millions of dollars are secret but legal, he refuses to act in secret.
Bursey’s signs are brash and loud and many times disliked and controversial. Like him or not, like his signs or not, Bursey is putting American free speech right in front of any driver’s face.
“I want a new president,” Bursey said. “Obama is a failure.”
This is the same guy who put up a sign more than a year ago, a sign that still stands, that reads:
“If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you weren’t a racist, you’d better vote for someone else in 2012 to prove you’re not an idiot!”
Bursey has said for more than a year that the sign is not a racial sign, but a political sign. Many sure doubt that, but the sign remains and it is no secret who put it there.
And another sign: “You can’t fix stupid – but you can vote them out!”
For more than a year, since Bursey started putting up the signs, drivers have honked in support or honked to show their disapproval. There’s even an occasional middle finger extended in disagreement.
There are yells and catcalls – both in favor and not in favor.
Bursey has gone right on fixing cars and putting up more signs.
Vandals even scratched two cars of another car repair shop next door months ago with the word “Obama.”
At least two windshields at Bursey’s lot were smashed, he said.
Bursey kept right on.
Because those signs are in the public eye before tens of thousands of drivers each day, they cannot be ignored. The only reason to have signs such as these are to attract attention.
Bursey’s signs get attention.
“If you believe in America, you stand up for what you believe in,” Bursey said Friday. “I’m not a politician. I’m a guy trying to make a living. I just think this president has made it harder to make a living.”
Inside Bursey’s business, on a wall filled with political stuff, he has columns and writings and pictures of columnists Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams – two black conservatives of national reputation – on the wall for anybody to see.
“I’m a conservative,” Bursey said. “So are they.”
Bursey also has a few signs for conservative local candidates near his shop, too – but it is the Obama signs, and now the Romney signs, that set Bursey apart.
Nowhere else in York County – a place of almost a quarter-million people – are there so many signs, paid for out one guy’s wallet.
Unlike all these political and media hacks who slam candidates of both parties, Bursey actually works for a living.
Friday afternoon – just two days after by almost all accounts Romney crushed Obama in a nationally televised debate – Bursey should have been holding a news conference saying his guy was a big winner.
Or at least putting up a new sign that said Romney whipped Obama in the debate.
Instead, Bursey’s son was polishing a bumper and Bursey had a Volvo in pieces requiring his work to fix, buff, paint, repair.
If Bursey wants to eat this week, he has to work this week.
Reggie Bursey is not part of stealth and secret money of campaigns, no matter which party or candidate is the choice or the target of any voter. All drivers supporting all candidates see his signs that come from the work of his hands and his back.
Nobody has to ask who is behind those signs on S.C. 161. Bursey is right behind the signs, in the shop, working.
Like them or not, Bursey’s signs get attention. They do not hide.