A Michigan man who placed a sign reading “Make The Township White Again” at a busy intersection has stirred up the ire of his neighbors, and may have even violated local laws in the process, MLive is reporting.
The homeowner told a local news reporter on Monday that he put the sign up as a joke last week after having had several pro-Donald Trump signs stolen from around his property. The sign references the Trump campaign’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
— ⚛☠ PhilUSB ☠™⚛ ⚜420⚜ (@philusb) July 28, 2016
Whether it was a joke or not, his neighbors in Flushing Township, Michigan (which is already 96 percent white) haven’t found it funny at all.
Neighbor Randy McLeod and his wife, Judy, even called the cops.
“That is not a joke. That’s not something that you joke about. You joke about what do you like Coke or Pepsi. You can do all that you want, but when you say something like that, that’s not a joke. That hits the hearts of people.”
Another neighbor even took matters into his own hands, taking a circular saw to the sign and then posting video of his act of vandalism on social media.
The homeowner, who has declined to give his name because of all of the negative publicity his sign has attracted, would like to see the vandal be charged with a crime.
“That doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to solve that crime.”
On Monday, the homeowner said, he didn’t go to work because he was afraid to leave his house because of all the death threats he had received.
“A joke turned into a big old nightmare. I can’t go to work today because I’ve got to watch my house. I don’t have a bigoted bone in my body.”
The homeowner also believes he’s being unfairly singled out, since other people have been putting out signs with messages that he thinks are racist.
“Black lives matter, they can put only black lives matter signs out and stuff and then you’ve got Hillary (Clinton) out there saying do all lives matter or black lives matter, and she went black lives matter. That’s not considered to be racist or bigoted and Obama says we have racism in our DNA. That just flat out pisses me off. They can say whatever the hell they want. I just did that as an experiment. I said well, let’s see if I can say whatever the hell I want and obviously the answer is no.”
Now, it seems, township authorities have taken an interest in the sign, although what they can do about it may be limited. The First Amendment ostensibly protects the homeowner’s right to free speech, and he can say whatever he wants (save for obscenity and other forms of speech that aren’t protected by the First Amendment). However, the sign may also violate township codes — not because of what it says, but because its size, location relative to the road, and other minutiae. But the township doesn’t have a code-enforcement officer, and the duty of making sure the sign is up to code would fall to the police. As of this writing, it’s not clear if township police are willing to treat the sign as a criminal matter.
This is not the first time a racist sign has capitalized on Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. In Tennessee, according to this Inquisitr report, political candidate and local restaurant owner Rick Tyler put up a billboard reading “Make America White Again.”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 30, 2016
Tyler insisted the billboard wasn’t about race, but instead was about his desire to see America return to a simpler, “1960’s, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration.” The billboard drew outrage around the community, as wells as pledges to boycott Tyler’s business, and was later taken down.
Do you find the Michigan “Make The Township White Again” sign racist and offensive?
[Image via Shutterstock/BLACKDAY]