Profane flag targeting Biden rankles many in Hazel Green
'It's terrible for kids walking past and people driving through our village,' woman says
HAZEL GREEN, Wis. (WKBT) — In a case of freedom of speech gone awry, a flag with a vulgar verb aimed at President Joe Biden has stirred anger in this quiet southwest Wisconsin village.
The flag, on one of the main highways through town, proclaims “F— Biden” from its perch near the peak on the side of a garage. Its colors and format are in the style of campaign posters for former President Donald Trump.
“A lot of people are upset,” Village President David Jegerlehner acknowledged in a phone interview. “But what can you do?”
“It’s poor judgment, and bad for kids going by and asking their parents what that is,” Jegerlehner said, lamenting that it’s a freedom of speech issue that ties officials’ hands.
The Village Council conferred with the police chief and village attorney, who agreed that “there’s really not much you can do. If you make a big deal, three other people” willl do something similar.
“To do that in the village you were raised in — what do you do,” Jegerlehner said.
WKBT TV News 8 Now left a message for the woman who apparently owns the home, but she did not respond Thursday evening.
Hazel Green, which describes itself with the slogan, “Wisconsin’s Point of Beginning,” is a village of about 1,200 souls about 120 miles south-southeast of La Crosse.
Many folks in businesses and organizations ih Hazel Green contacted by phone rejected chances to weigh in on the politically volatile message, but a few commented.
“I don’t think it’s good for kids to see,” said John Costello, superintendent of the Southwestern Wisconsin School District in Hazel Green, who said he tries not to become involved in political issues.
“In my position, I focus on educating kids. My job is to see they get a good education,” Costello said, adding, “It’s a sad way our society is going.”
A woman who asked not to be named said, “Everybody is really disgusted, but the police can’t do anything about it. It’s terrible for kids walking past and people driving through our village.”
Another political sign, on the edge of town, says, “Joe and the Ho have to go,” she said.
“Freedom of speech is one thing, but …” she said, her voice trailing off.
The Rev. Glenda McCracken, pastor of Hazel Green United Methodist Church, noted that, as a member of the clergy, she doesn’t comment on political topics.
However, she said, “If Americans want to turn America around, the church doors are open. Let’s get back to what our founding fathers founded America on — our faith.
Asked for further comment, McCracken said, “I just wish we could get along. It’s not going to be like that in heaven. The Lord won’t ask if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.”
Hazel Green isn’t the only municipality grappling with the issue. A Roselle Park, N.J., homeowner with similarly profane signs is facing city action because of signs on her home near an elementary school.
But Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello contends that the political message isn’t the issue. Rather, it’s the explicit content of the signs, which he said violates city codes.
“Freedom of speech when it comes to politics obviously [is] totally in bounds. The issue comes when using profane sexual language — especially near an elementary school. All we’re asking is for her to comply and take those down,” Signorello told reporters.
“She can put up all the pro-Trump signs she wants as long they’re not sexual and vulgar in nature,” Signorello insisted.
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