One of the more popular floats at this year's Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Neb. was of a ghoulish, skeletal figure propped up against an outhouse that had ""OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY" emblazoned on the side. According to the committee that approved the float for the parade, it was purely "political satire."
Parade committee member Rick Konopasek said the float wasn't meant to be any more offensive than a political cartoon would be. The only restriction for entering a float is that it can't be considered morally objectionable. That basically translates to a ban on nudity to sexually explicit messages, Konopasek said.
"We don't feel its right to tell someone what they can and can't express," he said. "This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all."
"I'm angry and I'm scared," Glory Kathurima, who was at the parade, told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "The float was not just political; this was absolutely a racial statement." Further from the Omaha World-Herald:
The World-Herald also received several emails from people expressing concern. One email, from a person who said she had grown up in northeast Nebraska, called it disrespectful that such a display would be allowed in a parade that celebrates America's history. The Nebraska Democratic Party also issued a statement, calling it one of the "worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen."
Norfolk City Councilman Dick Pfeil also voiced his displeasure with the float.
"The City of Norfolk doesn't condone that," Pfeil said.
The councilman noted, however, that it was up to the Odd Fellows to approve the floats. A representative of the Odd Fellows did not return a phone message from a World-Herald reporter Saturday evening.
"It's obvious the majority of the community liked it," Konopasek told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "So should we deny the 95 percent of those that liked it their rights, just for the 5 percent of people who are upset?"