Target: Victor Fischer, Council Chair of the Indiana Lion’s Club
Goal: Ban floats that promote prejudice and cruelty from appearing in parades.
A parade float depicting one presidential nominee assassinating another was driven through the streets of a small town in Indiana during an annual fair. The local Lion’s Club, which commissioned the parade, apologized for the incident, but this is not the only offensive float to appear in one of its parades this year. It is apparent that there needs to be a rule in place that prevents discriminatory propaganda against minorities and public figures from appearing on parade floats.
Frank Linkmeyer tries every year to put together a float that will shock his fellow Aurora, Ind. residents. This year, his entry depicted a person dressed as Donald Trump pulling the lever on an electric chair, in which sat a person dressed as Hillary Clinton. The float also included a person dressed as a preacher and one as the Grim Reaper. At the front of the display sat an Easter Island head painted black and labeled “Obama,” while the sides of the float were plastered with Trump/Pence campaign signs and phrases such as, “Liar, liar pants on fire” and “Benghazi.”
The man who created this float is claiming that it was a joke and could have featured either candidate in the electric chair, despite obvious details that show strong preference for the Republican candidate. Linkmeyer’s attitude is that if you’re offended you shouldn’t go to the parade anymore. Many townspeople were appalled by this propaganda and were displeased to have it displayed in front of their children. The float promoted racism and the assassination of a public servant.
Officials involved with the parade have apologized and denied any association with the values expressed by the float, but the real question is how it got through in the first place. The Lion’s Club is allowed to reject entries, yet this offensive display was paraded down the streets. Unfortunately, this is not the only case of prejudice expressed in Indiana parades.
In a different small town, a man dressed in prison attire and a blonde wig, likely to represent Clinton, rode around on a golf cart plastered with Trump campaign signs at a Fourth of July parade. Similar to the man from Aurora, Don Christy enjoys doing something outrageous each year for the parade. Previously, he dressed up like a gay man and pretended to get married to another man as a joke. His most recent distasteful display also featured a severed stuffed animal’s head on the front of his golf cart with the words “African Lion” while on the back, a doll wearing an Obama mask sat on a toilet with the words “Lying African.” His float promoted racism and animal cruelty, yet was allowed to be displayed in front of children.
The Lion’s Club needs to have rules against offensive parade floats. These events are time-honored activities that people love to enjoy with their families, and there is no room for such negative propaganda. Demand that the Indiana Lion’s Club council chair enforce regulations that ban depictions of prejudice and cruelty on parade floats.
Dear Mr. Fischer,
Recent depictions of racism, cruelty, and other prejudices have been publicly displayed on floats in parades that your organization commissions. It is obvious that a rule needs to be made, as some people do not have good judgment for what constitutes a family-friendly float. Reports from both Aurora and Sheridan detail displays that promote the idea that Obama was born in Africa and bash public servants. This sort of offensive propaganda has no place at a community event.
The attitudes of the offenders are that people need to take a joke, but the truth of the matter is that this is the exact sort of alt-right intrusion that needs to be squelched. Those who enter offensive floats should not be allowed to enter displays ever again. We demand that you enforce rules that ban the use of racist and cruel propaganda in your parades.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Darin Barry