The Adopt-a-Highway program began in the 1980s as a way to help local governments maintain the appearance of major roads, something that wasn’t usually a priority on most budgets. Organizations could volunteer their time and services to clean up designated sections of a local roadway and in return a sign would be posted in their honor, recognizing their role in the beautification process. Though the decades, many groups have participated in this type of service project and there is an improvement in our view as we look out our car windows.
Many groups forbid this type of activity. The Girl Scouts of the USA specifically prohibit highway and roadside cleanup as this is an activity that would put the members in danger. This makes sense, and I’m sure we would all question the intelligence of a troop leader with a bunch of little girls picking up trash (look, I found this wet, sticky balloon! Oooh, I found a full bottle of lemonade!)… Trash collection along a busy road is not an appropriate service opportunity for sweet, innocent children.
Many professional organizations and corporations also see the wisdom in this. Rather than put their employees at risk, they pay professional clean-up crews to do the work and the sign symbolizes the company as a sponsor. In fact, clean-up crews have become a lucrative business because of this. I’m sure they hire fine, upstanding citizens for this type of work. College-educated, well-trained, highly skilled Americans…
Actually, many states have made amazing strides in litter removal and highway beautification by employing the citizens currently incarcerated in the state prison systems. It has long been a practice in many states to allow convicts to participate in clean up projects on our public roads; providing felons gainful employment and helping keep America clean. Government money is being spent to imprison them, so having them ‘earn their keep’ cleaning up garbage seems like an appropriate punishment, ranking somewhere just above cleaning up bodily waste on hot days in close quarters.
So while we have modern-day chain gangs along the side of the road, and professional clean-up crews, and volunteer groups, the highways always need more help. People litter. Garbage blows off trucks. Accidents happen and pieces of tire or glass are left behind on the road. There is always room for more organizations to volunteer time and resources to the cause.
It seems only fair that the KKK join the club. Put them in orange and let them get out there and do some dirty, miserable, physical labor along our highways. While many are offended by the thought of recognizing this group as a practicing entity, it is a lawfully formed organization. Although most of us agree that what they practice and believe in make them no better than criminals, restricting their right to organize is illegal and hypocritical. Let them form an organization, it probably makes them easier to catch when punishable crimes inevitably happen (keep your enemies close, they always say). This is the kind of group I’d rather see cleaning up trash. This is the sort of cause their money should go to (leaving them less money to waste on ignorant hateful activity). Lets get the child molesters and drug pushers out there, too. Drivers see groups of people cleaning along the highway,no one says, “Oh, look at those noble citizens. What a wonderful job they are doing keeping our roads clean! I am so proud of these Americans and the good work they provide.” NO…. the normal assumption is those workers are criminals. Putting the KKK out there doesn’t offend me at all.