The news: Norfolk, Nebraska, had a pretty wild Fourth of July, complete with a very bizarre "Obama Presidential Library" float depicting the president as a strange, greenish zombie and his legacy as an outhouse. Despite winning an "honorable mention" in the parade voting, a number of local residents were not amused by the outward racism towards the 44th president.
The owner of the float has yet to be identified.
Norfolk resident Glory Kathurima, a black woman, told Omaha.com that she felt the depiction of the president went beyond a joke into being outright disrespectful. She, like many others in attendance and later on various social media outlets, also believed the float seemed to be outright and boldly calling the president stupid.
The Nebraska Democratic Party called it "worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen."
Defending the heinous: Parade committee member Rick Konopasek defended the float, saying "It's obvious the majority of the community liked it. So should we deny the 95% of those that liked it their rights, just for the 5% of people who are upset?"
To which University of Nebraska–Lincoln political science professor Ari Kohen responded: "I mean, if you want to say that 95% of your community is racist, who am I to get in your way, I guess?" Kohen noted that community leaders involved in organizing the parade were quick to defend it in the Omaha Journal-Star with a few key points such as:
1. "This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all."
2. "For the most part, this is a strong conservative community. I really don't see anything wrong with the Obama float and I'm kind of amazed anyone is complaining."
3. "The man who built the float has been a longstanding member of the community, and people shouldn't be quick to judge him for expressing his opinions."
4. "This was a day to celebrate independence and part of that is speech and expression. He exercised his rights."
A gross history: It's not the first time the outhouse has made an appearance. Montana's state Republican convention in 2012 featured another outhouse towed behind a pickup truck, complete with a birth certificate stamped as "Bullshit" and graffiti saying "For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)"
Image Credit: Mediaite