You may have noticed in the past few weeks, a truck driving around town with a flag flying in the back. While many folks in our community fly the stars and stripes, this flag has a different message.
Emblazoned on the flag are the words “F...Biden” and in smaller type “and F... you for voting for him.” Certainly, the messaging of the flag is considered free speech and is protected by the U.S. Constitution. And many in our community may agree with the sentiment if not the word choice.
Still, it is offensive and vulgar. The same would be true of a flag directed at President Trump and his supporters. And, in a community that voted overwhelmingly in favor of Trump, who is the flag flyer’s intended audience? All of Wyoming’s three electoral votes went to Trump in the last election, so what’s the point?
Whatever the point, there is a more serious question that we must ask ourselves. Has Buffalo become a community that is OK with people using profane language whenever and wherever they like? Is it OK to put up vulgar signs in front of churches? Schools?
If you think this is extreme or an exaggeration, on Tuesday morning before school started the truck drove past Clear Creek Middle School, Meadowlark Elementary School and Cloud Peak Elementary School with their Biden flag flying. And that seems problematic. It’s one thing to have a profane poster hanging in a bar where only adults can gather. It’s a whole other thing to subject our children to such messaging.
While the messaging of this flag is protected speech, where it is displayed is not. In 2016, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a South Carolina law that prohibited profanity near a church or school. In the case, Johnson v. Quattlebaum, the appeals court determined that some speech could indeed be regulated.
Hopefully, the city or county will not need to pass a law to address this issue. It’s hard to believe it’s even an issue. In the past, people wouldn’t dare fly such a flag, if only for fear that their mother would not approve.
Maybe a friend or neighbor can politely ask this individual not to fly this flag: Remind them that it’s not really necessary to be so profane. If not a friend, maybe a parent or pastor.
Times have changed. We hope our community has not changed so much that public profanity is considered acceptable behavior.