Protesters across the United States are taking to the streets Thursday to voice their opposition to the Federal Communications Commission’s vote next week to remove net neutrality protections.
With many of the events planned for the evening, there’s still time for you to get out there and make your voice heard about net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers should not be able to control access to or load speeds for specific sites or content. And why not make your chosen message that much bigger and bolder by picking up some cardboard and stationary and making your very own sign?
There have been a lot of net neutrality protests over the years, including those that have already begun Thursday, and they offer plenty of examples of creative, funny, and frequently cat-related — hey, it’s the internet — signs to get you inspired to make your own. Here are 10 of the best we’ve seen.
1. When In Doubt, Go For Memes
When a cat wears a fruit helmet, it becomes Limecat, the god of all cats. When FCC Chairman and net neutrality opponent Ajit Pai wears such a helmet, he just looks like silly.
2. Freely Mix Internet and Popular Culture
Sure, signs based on Shepherd Fairey’s iconic “Hope” poster made more sense when President Obama was still in office, but nothing says an issue affects everyone — but especially everyone on the internet — quite like putting the most iconic depiction of an American leader in decades with the Guy Fawkes mask of Anonymous.
3. Get A Little Help From Your Friends
The internet brings us all together. Why not make that extra clear by having a dozen or so of your closest friends all hold up signs spelling out each letter (and maybe hashtag) of your chosen slogan?
4. Remember, Cats Are Crucial
Not since ancient Egypt has a culture venerated cats as deities quite like the world of online has. While the reasons for that will be something for digital archaeologists to puzzle out, in the meantime just know that any sign is going to be better with a feline presence. The heart isn’t a bad touch either.
5. Crib From Patrick Henry
Make no mistake: If Patrick Henry had been born 250 years later than he actually was, he would have been way too busy posting to ever address the Second Virginia Convention and declare “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Our most spiritually online founder would absolutely respect the homage.
6. Honor Our Most Patriotic Icons
Uncle Sam has been enlisted to provide moral support for every American cause since the War of 1812 — although he only took on his familiar appearance during World War I — and the Japanese video game character Pac-Man in a stars and stripes top hat runs a close second when it comes to personifications of American liberty.
7. No, Seriously, People Really Like Cat-Related Posters
We didn’t really think Lolcats were still a thing, but they are the hot sign content at seemingly any self-respecting net neutrality protest. Cats are great, so we’re not sure why we’re questioning this.
8. Consider Your Corporate Opponents’ Logos And Think, “How Could This Be More Satanic?”
Thursday’s protests are focused on Verizon Stores, and the telecom giant gives not one but two opportunities to make its logo look demonic, as this sign ably demonstrates.
9. Remind People Why Net Neutrality Really Matters
This sign from Chicago-area congressional candidate Jesús “Chuy” Garcia could maybe need a bit of sprucing up on the layout front, but it keys in on a crucial message: Nobody wants to go back to the days of loading screens. This is the rare negative campaigning we can get behind.
10. Why Hello, Fart Police
This popular net neutrality imagery is directly based on the Revolution-era Gadsen flag. The original, “Don’t Tread On Me” form has some more recent associations with the Tea Party and libertarian movements that not everyone is going to be the biggest fan of, but this one does away with all that in favor of a clever play on words and an ethernet cable snake that is actually kind of endearing. I mean, it’s no cat on a net neutrality poster, but then again, what is?