A parade float involving a man wearing a President Obama mask during an annual Fourth of July parade has caused quite a local stir in the small city of Huntsville, Utah, KSTU reports. And unsurprisingly, the accusations of racism have already started to circulate.
Some were amused, others angry to see an Obama-themed parade entry that used the phrase “Obamanation” on a license plate and featured a man dressed like the president. There was also one sign that said “Huntsville Welcomes Obama’s Farewell Tour?” and another that read “Ask about our assault gun plan! Call Eric Holder,” obviously referring to the failed gun-walking operation “Fast and Furious.”
City Council member Laurie Allen and Huntsville Mayor Jim Truett told KSTU the parade entry does not reflect the views of the city. Further, city officials argue the float was entered at the last minute and had they seen it, it would not have been approved.
“I don’t think we would have allowed it, in fact I know we wouldn’t,” Allen said. “We just don’t want that. It’s a family-oriented celebration.”
Truett also said he has received voicemails from people accusing him of being a racist, KTVX reports.
“I just want to say on behalf of the town council and the town of Huntsville, that viewpoint does not represent us at all,” the mayor added.
Dave Clawson, the float’s designer, told KTVX he was referring to “a very current event called the Fast and Furious scandal” and added he thinks it’s a “travesty” that people lost their lives in the flawed operation.
He also said parody floats are a yearly tradition and his design was in no way a threat against President Obama. Clawson has done parodies of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and well known celebrities like Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson in the past.
“I will offer an apology to no one for it,” said Clawson. “There was nothing wrong with it. We were just expressing a little political humor and that’s just fine. If you watch Saturday Night Live, you’ll see much worse every time.”
“I did see it and I thought it was cute,” one Huntsville resident said. “We live in America and we can voice our own opinions.”
But not everyone agreed.
“I think it’s probably inappropriate for the Fourth of July parade, I mean everybody’s entitled to their own opinion but maybe that’s not the best venue to bring it out,” said another resident.
Weber County Sheriff Lt. Mark Lowther told KSTU his department called the Secret Service after some residents claimed the float represented a direct threat to President Obama.
“The Secret Service has been advised and they talked to our deputy about it,” he said.
Next year, city officials say they will be more careful about selecting parade entries.
“We don’t decide what’s appropriate. That’s up to the town, the parade organizers and the people who design the float,” Chief Deputy with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office Klint Anderson said in a statement.
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