Controversial Nebraska parade float creator speaks out
Attendees of the Norfolk Fourth of July Parade would say one float stood out in particular last weekend.
A mannequin on the side of an outhouse read “Obama Presidential Library” was believed to portray President Obama.
The creator of the float, rural Norfolk resident and veteran H. Dale Remmich, said he's sorry for the misconception.
Dale Remmich, float maker said, “It's me. I've got on my bibs. Yes, I've got my walker. I'm turning green and some say I look like a zombie. But I am not a hate-monger and I'm not a racist.
Remmich said he did not mean any disrespect for the presidency. He also said one of the reasons that contributed to the making of the float is the ongoing issues of the Veteran's Affairs administration.
Remmich said, “I have three very close friends that are under VA care, or lack there of it, right now.”
Remmich said the second reason he constructed the float was because he was disappointed with the government's handling of the Bergdahl scandal.
Remmich said, “I tried to use political satire as best I could, but to be honest with you it's mostly political disgust, simply no more or no less.”
But Monday, Norfolk city officials are distancing themselves from the parade entry in question.
The float featured an outhouse on a flatbed truck with a sign that read "Obama Presidential Library" with a mannequin in overalls standing outside. Organizers of the 39th Annual Odd Fellows Fourth of July Parade released a statement saying the entry was satire and they do not agree or disagree with the content.
They say the entry followed the rules for the parade and that it was no more offensive than a political cartoon.But Glory Kathurima, an immigrant from Kenya, who lives in Norfolk, says she was deeply offended.
Kathurima said, "[Some people were] laughing, some people were pointing, some people were clapping, and that's when I really became scared. I was thinking 'What are you guys laughing at? What's remotely funny about this?' I don't see any sort of policy being argued. I don't see any sort of stance being taken."
Monday, Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman issued a statement making it clear that while the city issued a permit for the parade, it did not sponsor the event.
The statement read, in part, "We recognize and respect our citizens' differing political beliefs and their rights to express them freely; however, we are disappointed that the occasion of this family-friendly celebration of America's birth was used in a way that disparaged the office of the president."
"This incident and the controversy it caused does not reflect the character and spirit of our city or our state."