An Obama parade float is under investigation by the Department of Justice. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Nebraska 4th of July parade float poked fun at President Barack Obama. Eric Holder sent members of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service team to question the creators of the Norfolk Independence Day float.
The Obama parade float depicted a zombie-style figure which somewhat resembles President Obama standing outside an outhouse featuring a sign that said, “Obama Presidential Library.” The Nebraska Democratic Party deemed the 4th of July parade float one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.” While some took to online social networks to claim the Obama float was racist, others deemed it freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the same type of political satire that all presidents have endured since the formation of the United States.
The DOJ Community Response Service team member in charge of handling discrimination disputes attended a public meeting in Norfolk about the Obama float, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman, NAACP representatives, and the Norfolk Odd Fellows all assembled to discuss, review, and debate a simple parade float and the exercise of free speech. The Norfolk Odd Fellows coordinates the annual 4th of July parade in the Nebraska town.
Obama float creator Dale Remmich said the mannequin was a depiction of himself, and not the president – which would have been perfectly legal anyway. Remmich said he is upset about President Obama’s handling of the Veterans Affairs Department. “Looking at the float, that message absolutely did not come through,” NAACP chapter president Betty C. Andrews said.
Dale Remmich, a military veteran, also had this to say about the Obama parade float:
“The float was political satire and an expression of political disgust. There was no racism involved, no hate for anyone. I’ve got my bibs on my walker (zombie) I’m covering my ears and I’m turning a bit green. I intended it to look like a zombie who has had enough.”
Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman said she respects the right of freedom of expression, but was disappointed that the office of the presidency was disparaged during the 4th of July parade. “As an open and inclusive city, we have a responsibility to foster an environment of free exchange, but also one of civility, courtesy, and decency.”
Odd Fellows member Rick Konopasek said the parade float entry rules were followed, and the group does not disagree or agree with the content of the Obama float. The parade judges awarded the Obama display an honorable mention in the parade float contest.
Nebraska Senator Jim Scheer said he hopes that in the future 4th of July parade floats will be restricted to displays which reflect positive support for the United States.
Unless a display or message appears to pose a potential threat, it is not against the law to make fun of a president, even if the intended message is lost on the general public. The Obama parade float outhouse did not make any visual or written reference to the color of the president’s skin, so the claims of the display being racist have baffled many. A similar uproar occurred when a rodeo clown wore a Barack Obama mask during a public event last year.
The Obama float was not anti-America. Independence Day celebrates the end of life under an oppressive government, and the guarantee of free speech and other equally important rights. If a visit by the Department of Justice occurs when exercising the rights the Founding Fathers announced on July 4, 1776, do those rights still truly exist?