Department of Justice now involved in story of man who built Obama-mocking parade float

posted at 9:21 pm on July 14, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

This is heinous— a betrayal so blatant of American values so fundamental I have trouble wrapping my mind around it:

The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the discussions over a controversial float in the Norfolk Independence Day parade.

The department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team, which gets involved in discrimination disputes, to a Thursday meeting about the issue. Also at the meeting were the NAACP, the Norfolk mayor and The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The float was created by a Nebraska veteran, Dale Emmerich, and featured a zombified mannequin figure standing in front of an outhouse bearing the sign, “Obama Presidential Library.” Emmerich said the mannequin represented him and other veterans, and the float was a comment on the horrors of the VA scandal. Which, given the level of broken trust, deceit, and death exposed at nearly every level of that corrupt system, I cannot begrudge the man his dissent. It used to be that we valued such things even when— especially when, dare I say— we disagreed personally with such speech or found it problematic.

I describe the content of the float to put us all on the same page but it’s irrelevant because making a parade float that offends people is not in any way against the law. Charles C.W. Cooke on the virtues of the formerly universally understood freedom to mock one’s leaders:

Now for the obvious question: Why? What, exactly, was the problem here? Nobody was killed. Nobody was injured. Nobody had their material or spiritual interests injured, nor were they stripped of their livelihoods. No federal or state laws were broken. Indeed, not even private rules were broken. More to the point, there was no “discrimination dispute” of the sort with which the DOJ likes to concern itself. Instead, a few free people were vexed because a politician that they like was depicted in an unflattering light. One might well ask, “So what?” Once, Americans tackled the Oregon Trail. Are they now in need of their political “discussions” being arbitrated by glorified social workers sent by Uncle Sam?

In a typically risible statement, Nebraska’s state Democratic party described the incident as one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.” That this is almost certainly true demonstrates just how much progress the United States has made in the last 50 years — and, in consequence, how extraordinarily difficult the professionally aggrieved are finding it to fill their quotas. If a fairly standard old saw is among the worst things to have happened to the Cornhusker State in recent memory, the country is in rather good shape, n’est-ce pas?


“The float was political satire and an expression of political disgust.
There was no racism involved, no hate for anyone,” Remmich said.

The argument of the offended was, as the statement from Nebraska’s Democrats reveals, rather flimsy. It consisted, as usual, of an assertion of racism. I hate to repeat Cooke too much, whose whole piece you should read, but we have the same outstanding questions about this. I ask them with the full knowledge that it’s racist to even be confused about this. Are zombies racist? Overalls? Outhouses? And, wouldn’t one need to establish that the mannequin, rather casually costumed for a representation of the Leader of the Free World and using a walker, was indeed meant to be Obama to argue that the float was racist? The answer, of course, is no. None of that need be established because bad-faith accusations of one’s countrymen are more politically fruitful than mounting an argument in opposition. Silencing speech is getting increasingly easier than answering it.

Especially with some help from the law enforcement arm of the federal government.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Has anyone else ever noticed that all the trolls try to claim some prestigious education/employment?

It is essentially an attempt at a “call to authority” where they throw out their credentials in an effort to claim authority/intelligence.

they fail to realize that even assuming their claims to prestigious education as true, not every person who attends / graduates from an exclusive school is of above-average intelligence (indeed, the left claims to this day that W Bush is a moron despite graduating from Yale). It entirely possible to be “book smart” and do well on tests and even regurgitate info back on a test without having any real intelligence. Add to that non-rigorous majors (various social studies, women’s studies, black studies, etc., for example), lower standards for admittance for some, etc. and simple attendance at Harvard or Yale proves nothing about one’s intelligence.

regardless, even if one accepts at face value that every attendee/graduate of an Ivy is of above-average intelligence, it does not make any argument they make correct.

Simply having a decent level of intelligence and making intelligent arguments are not the same thing. One can be brilliant and make incredibly stupid arguments. It happens all the time.

Monkeytoe on July 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

In summary, to gain respect on HA, make good points, don’t brag about accomplishments.

It truly is a sad commentary that a float, which calls attention to the disparate situations some at the VA have seen, invokes personal insult by the president. He then sends the DOJ to see what’s up.

Effay5 on July 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Meow.

Bmore on July 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

In summary, to gain respect on HA, make good points, don’t brag about accomplishments.

It truly is a sad commentary that a float, which calls attention to the disparate situations some at the VA have seen, invokes personal insult by the president. He then sends the DOJ to see what’s up.

Effay5 on July 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

An attorney general that investigates a parade float (which could not possibly have harmed Obama even if it had been carrying a Browning Ma Deuce because OBAMA WASNT THERE) but says the IRS does not need a special prosecutor after several dozen truckloads of corruption being found needs to be impeached.

ConstantineXI on July 15, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Sorry Bmore, didn’t realize I was in line to be on the next page or I would have waited.

Effay5 on July 15, 2014 at 1:02 PM

freedom of speech is not carte blance for offensive speech, lest you have no problems with me building a giant pen-is float and entering that into the next parade

nonpartisan on July 14, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Why bother with the float? People can already see that you’re a dick.

zoyclem on July 15, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Funny enough to bear repeating!

PrettyD_Vicious on July 15, 2014 at 11:46 AM

And again.

slickwillie2001 on July 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM

freedom of speech is not carte blance for offensive speech, lest you have no problems with me building a giant pen-is float and entering that into the next parade

nonpartisan on July 14, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Why bother with the float? People can already see that you’re a dick.

zoyclem on July 15, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Funny enough to bear repeating!

PrettyD_Vicious on July 15, 2014 at 11:46 AM

And again.

slickwillie2001 on July 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM

What’s this about a repeating bear?

Monkeytoe on July 15, 2014 at 1:08 PM

So Ms. Ham, I can go ahead and make a giant penis float and enter it into the parade as well?!

nonpartisan on July 14, 2014 at 9:35 PM

No NP. Apparently not without being investigated.

WryTrvllr on July 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Department of Justice now involved in story of man who built Obama-mocking parade float

The government sends in its goon squad.

earlgrey on July 15, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Obama, following in Hitler’s and Stalin’s footsteps.

VorDaj on July 14, 2014 at 9:43 PM

A fascist must have his mentors.

earlgrey on July 15, 2014 at 2:43 PM

I hate Illinois Nazis….

Sea Wolf on July 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Indeed

Schadenfreude on July 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Cartoons depicting G.W. Bush as a chimp – completely within free speech laws; an effigy of Sarah Palin hanging in the town square – free speech again. The Outhouse Presidential library requires DOJ investigation – especially since there is so little other work for them. Anyone else see racism at work here?

evie1949 on July 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4