A sign portraying President Barack Obama's name alongside an image of a noose is confronting passersby on a rural road in Wisconsin, but the sign-maker said he supports the president and was merely trying to attract attention with the graphic, which is displayed on his property in Waushara County.
"If it is causing this much attention, then that’s good," Tom Savka told NBC affiliate WGBA in response to reports that his sign is distressing drivers. "If it gets you off your dead butt, gets you away from watching the football game, and go out and vote."
The yellow sign prominently displays gallows with a tied noose next to the words, "Hang In There Obama." But from far away, it looks like “Hang Obama” next to a picture of a noose, WGBA reports. Toward the bottom, Savka has painted in minuscule letters, "I love Obama."
Savka told the WGBA that the message is aimed at propping up Obama during the last weeks of the campaign.
The message is "never give up. Don’t quit. I don’t care about the noose around your neck, I don’t care if you’re hanging,” Savka said.
Over the past few weeks, racist symbols and displays have cropped up around the country in protest of Obama and his policies. One California resident erected a montage that featured an empty chair, two watermelons, and a sign reading, "Go back to Kenya you idiot."
And in Texas and Virginia, two homeowners who oppose the president appeared to "lynch" empty chairs in their front yards -- a symbol that has become synonymous with Obama since actor Clint Eastwood used a chair as a stand-in for the president while pretending to interview him at the 2012 GOP National Convention.
The liberal-leaning blog Burnt Orange Report first reported on the Texas incident after a neighbor emailed in a photo of the chair dangling from a tree. Later, Bud Johnson, the man responsible for the display and a Republican, added an American flag before finally cutting the chair down.
“Someone always wants to say, 'you’re making a big deal out of it, it’s just a chair,'" Burnt Orange editor Katherine Haenschen told NBC.
"But I don’t see how you can dismiss the racial message of lynching a symbol of the first African-American president. It’s really tough for me to see how folks might, after the Eastwood speech, not view this as a racially charged message and a symbol of a threat to the president’s life."
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