Parade float depicting outhouse as Obama library sparks controversy

A float in a Nebraska Fourth of July parade displaying an outhouse as the Obama presidential library has sparked considerable controversy.

The float in the parade in Norfolk, Neb., depicted a male dummy clad in overalls and clutching a walker propped up outside an outhouse, American flags stuck into the roof. Two wooden signs reading "Obama" and "Presidential Library" were tacked on the side of the wooden structure, which rode in the parade in the flatbed of a blue pickup truck. The drivers were not identified.

Rick Konopasek, a member of the parade committee that approved the float, told the Lincoln Journal Star that the float amounted to political satire.

"We don't feel it's right to tell someone what they can and can't express," he told the paper, but said floats containing nudity or sexually explicit themes are not allowed. "This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats we might as well not have a parade at all."

But Glory Kathurima, who watched the parade with her daughter, told the Journal Star that she was angry and scared by the float.

"This float was not just political," Kathurima, who said she was born in Kenya, told the paper. "This was absolutely a racial statement."

According to the Omaha World-Herald, the Nebraska Democratic Party issued a statement calling the float one of "the worst displays of racism and disrespect for the office of of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen."

In 2012, a Montana man built an outhouse that said "Obama Presidential Library" on the side and drove it around the state. The outhouse was riddled with bullet holes and had a fake birth certificate attached. The man parked it outside of the Montana Republican Convention. Party officials called it offensive, ordered it moved and banned it from future events. Last year, a man placed a sign reading "Obama Presidential Library" atop a public outhouse in Tucumari, N.M.

 

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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