Dear Editor,

Paulding County is currently faced with an issue involving our cherished constitutional right of freedom of speech. Specifically, at issue is a vulgar ‘F-word Biden and F-you for voting for him’ flag strategically placed on private property within feet of a well traveled road just past my home.

Political signs are a form of political speech guaranteed by our Constitution. We recognize each sign, flag or banner proclaims the opinion of someone supporting a cause, party or politician. The flag in question isn’t one of support, but denigrates a candidate and those who voted for him. It exposes children and others traveling this road to obscene speech unprotected by the First Amendment.

Freedom of speech, like it or not, is not absolute. It comes with limits and responsibilities. For example, someone entering a second grade classroom, a church or school board meeting shouting vulgar profanities is not protected speech. Strategically placing unavoidable F-word flags, waiving constantly for months at resident’s and passing school children is not protected speech according to Miller v. California because the specific F-word flag in question explicitly enlarges obscene sexual terminology which most parents in the community do not teach their children and forbid their children to use.

But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose this particular flag was protected. Why would anyone WANT to F-bomb innocent children, or anyone, for months? Under Ohio law, those who bellow unwelcome obscenities can be charged with disorderly conduct, and should be, as they could in other settings, especially those with children present. People have the right to employ the F-language where they enjoy it privately, if they wish. But those strategically placing huge public F-words, and landowners continuously permitting them, either fail to grasp the effect on our local community or, they don’t care. However, other residents easily recognize the undermining of social norms by the obscene ‘F Biden and F-U for voting for him’ flag flying here.

What’s next? ‘F the Paulding Panthers and F-U for supporting them’ banner by opponents at the next ball game, maybe at halftime, or along roads leading there? Would that be considered a First Amendment right of free speech? If not, why am I and other residents forced to encounter an F-flag along the road where I live? Children pass by here, too, halftime or not.

Legal considerations aside, is there not an obvious right thing to do regarding unavoidable flags which constantly F-bomb residents or little children learning to read? This petty display of Trump temperament does not accurately portray Republicans I know and respect.

Isaiah 30:21 says, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it…” I believe the majority of local residents would agree that if conscience doesn’t take down the obscenity in question, law should. A better way than wasting law enforcement resources would be if people just did what they know is right. Take the profanity down.

Rolland Myers

12791 Road 179

Oakwood, Ohio 45873