It was a nice fall day, warm with just a hint of a breeze and leaves on the trees starting to change color in advance of their inevitable downward flight to the green grass below.
It was a day in which it was easy to view and to breathe in all that is good in North Iowa, mostly sunny and 100 percent tranquil.
And then, there it was, in the middle of a quaint, residential neighborhood. Someone has a banner displayed on the front of their house, the kind of banner people often use to show their unabashed loyalty to the Iowa Hawkeyes or Iowa State Cyclones or their kids’ high school team.
This one, in patriotic red, white and blue colors, contained two words in large enough print to easily be seen from the street. Its message: “F*** Biden!” (except the sign contained all the letters I omitted.)
I’ve thought about the significance of that banner. It is obscene, mean-spirited, self-serving and speaks volumes about the type of person who displays it.
It is a sign of hate. Sadly, it is a sign of the times.
I’m glad my granddaughter wasn’t with me when we drove through that neighborhood and saw the sign. But there are children and grandchildren who see that sign every day. How do their parents and grandparents explain it to them?
People are also reading…
Hopefully, a sign like that is not representative of how reasonable people in North Iowa express disapproval.
How do other people in the neighborhood feel about having a sign like that in their midst?
What does a sign like that do to property values in the neighborhood? (Suppose you lived next door and were trying to sell your house. How many prospective buyers would see the sign next door and say, “no thank you.”)
There should be outrage of good, decent people from both political parties in Mason City and Cerro Gordo County. Democrats would certainly object – and Republicans should too, unless they approve of it. There are some things in life that should be met with equal outrage.
This doesn’t have anything to do with challenging freedom of speech. Of course the owner of the sign has that freedom. He or she also has the constitutional right to be stupid – and they have exercised that right!
Here’s another disturbing element to all of this. There’s apparently a pretty big market for these kinds of signs. A quick check on the internet, googling the two words shown on the sign, shows that several companies are selling them for anywhere from $12 to $200, depending on how fancy the buyer wants to get.
It’s pretty simple economics. Supply and demand. As long as there’s demand there will always be supply.
But let’s skip all the window dressing and get back to the original point. It is a sign of hate. It is a sign of the times.
COLLECTION: The latest from John Skipper
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John Skipper retired from the Globe Gazette in February 2018 after 52 years in newspapers, most of that in Mason City covering North Iowa government and politics.