On September 18, 2021, a 72-year-old woman named Elaine Simmons had her rights of freedom of speech violated, when a sign she posted on her property had to come down. The only thing it said was that she was “proud to be an American.” Located on her property on North Hancock Road in Minnesota, there was a request to “toot for Trump.” It was there for a year before the forced removal occurred. This came after a phone call made to someone that had the power to force its removal. Over the past year, Simmons said that tons of people honked their horns as they passed, to do as requested, and show their support for Trump. Apparently, she had posted other signs on her property saying things such as: “We stand for the national anthem.” Due to protests of the NFL and efforts to raise awareness of the issue of police brutality, her reference to “standing for the national anthem,” and support for Trump, upset those protesters and activists on the matter. This is what allegedly led to the call and request for the removal of her signs from her own property. Simmons believes this was the problem that led to the complaints.
She went on to say that the inspiration for her signs came after witnessing a young child, of eight, kneel for the national anthem. Simmons said that it “flipped her out” that the child kneeled. Apparently, her conviction to convey the information that “we stand for the national anthem,” was part of the motivation for posting the signs on her property. Simmons went to the local shop and purchased her sign that measured about 6 feet in height to communicate her protest of the behavior. She feels that “people have other ways to protest things,” going on to say that, if people don’t like it they can protest by writing their congressman a letter to protest things. Then she added, and “get a one-way ticket out of here if you don’t like it.”
Someone else in Simmons’s community apparently vandalized her signs previous to this event, when they came onto her private property. They then proceeded to spray paint, “by the p**y,” onto the posted signs in her yard. Simmons, unhappy at the trespass and vandalization of her creation and posts, removed them, then proceeded to put them right back up. That wasn’t the only issue between Simmons and the troublemakers. The local homeowner’s association cited her to “remove the sign from her property” by 14 days, or face consequences. As she lives in an area, right by a lake, that is well populated, the homeowner’s association was well within their rights to demand. The HOA has restrictions to these things of compliance to keep signs temporary. As there is a limit to 90 days, she was clearly in violation of that. Simmons has given up the struggle to express herself through these signs now, as it costs too money to fight these things. She says she will “lie low” now because of these financial limitations. She also thinks her obsession with the signs remaining up is what created the demand for their removal. Simmons has conceded for now, as failure to do so could result in fines. This is per the county code enforcement order that resulted in her removing the signs. There was no further issue. The conflict ended peacefully.