Obamacare might be controversial, but America’s comeuppance for slavery? Not likely.
Still, that’s what the marquee outside of an Arkansas rib shack boldly proclaimed last week, sparking some controversy among the locals.
A bystander snapped a photo of the sign on Friday and sent it to KHBS/KHOG-TV. It read, simply, “Obamacare (was) America’s Punishment for Slavery Years.” Johnny Howard, the owner of Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse in Rogers, said that he got so many complaints about the sign that he was forced to take it down.
“I apologize for the sign,” he later said of the controversy. “It’s offending people, as it did. I didn’t intend for it to be racist-oriented at all.”
Howard bemoaned that the sign had been taken out of context, and that he was frustrated with the Affordable Care Act, not President Obama personally.
“It’s the policy, and I made the mistake of wording it in the wrong fashion,” Howard said. “The policy. It’s not the person, it’s the policy.”
“To me this health care plan is a job killer. I myself will have to eliminate at least one location if all the policies that were written originally go through,” he said.
He acted quickly and took the sign down after 45 minutes.
So, will the Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse marquee become a soap box for more political messages? “Well, no. I think I’ve learned my lesson,” Howard said.
The Obamacare/slavery talking point isn’t a new one. Fox News contributor and Tea Party favorite, Dr. Ben Carson, himself an African-American, made similar comments at the Values Voter Summit on Friday.
“I have to tell you Obamacare is, really I think, the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery,” Dr. Carson said, continuing, “it is making all of us subservient to the government.”
“And it was never about healthcare, it was about control,” he continued.