Racism, Tea Party Paranoia Taints Ky. July 4th Festival
July 4, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-This is libertarian tea party candidate for U.S. Senate, Rand Paul’s stomping grounds. So, a very public display of anti-Obama right-wing paranoia and racism at the Lexington, Kentucky July 4th Festival, should come as no surprise. Still, the specter of vendors wearing and selling T-shirts emblazoned with the message, “Yup, I’m a Racist,” gave people pause. When asked by the Louisville Independent Examiner’s Greg Skilling, the booth workers explained the message refers to their belief that “the government” is branding them as racists, because they support the Constitution, the right to bear arms and the tea party, among other policies. If this makes no sense to you—join the club.
But hmm, let’s think this through: Could their racist message and victimization complaints have something to do with the fact that our nation elected our first black president? What they really are saying is: We don’t like that socialist, secret Muslim black fellow in the White House, so “Yup, I’m a Racist.”
On the flip side of the T-shirt is the message, because:
- I support the U.S. Constitution.
- I support free speech.
- I support the right to bear arms.
- I support the Bill of Rights.
- I support capitalism.
- I support no government bailouts.
- I support closing the border.
- I support the military.
- I support the tea party.
- I support Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Presumably, “the government” (President Obama) is at odds with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? And how does supporting Jesus Christ leave them open to charges of racism? The mind reels.
The T-shirt vendors’ main gripe centered on the completely baseless belief that Obama is going to take their guns away.
Some of their responses, when asked by Skilling to explain the “Yup, I’m a Racist” message:
“I’m tired of being called a racist,” said a male vendor.
“The government thinks we are [racist] because of what we support,” said a female booth worker.
“We have the right to bear arms, but the government says no you don’t,” said the same female worker.
When Skilling pointed out that a recent Supreme Court decision ruled that they do have a personal right to bear arms, she wasn’t convinced, saying the case was just “one step.”
When asked if she was being called a racist because of her stance on immigration, the woman responded, “It doesn’t have anything to do with immigration. Their taking our rights away.” The unidentified woman then proceeded to go on a bizarre rant concerning “illegals,” Pakistani illegals, that she claims are crossing the Mexican border into the U.S.
One bystander interviewed by Skilling in the video, said the T-shirt was fine with him, because of the vendor’s free speech rights, but he admitted he would be “embarrassed” to be associated with the vendor’s wares.
A reporter for the Herald Leader interviewed John Lang, who was managing the booth and he made just as much sense as the woman railing against the non-existent Pakistanis crossing the Mexican border:
“There also was a booth selling right-wing paraphernalia, such as T-shirts that said “Yup, I’m a racist” on the front. That caught the eye of brothers Chris and Michael Barnett, who didn’t like it. “I think it’s horrible,” Chris said. “I appreciate the controversy, because that’s what this country is founded on, but it’s awful,” Michael said. John Lang, who was staffing the booth, pointed out that the back of the shirts explained that the wearer was racist because he supports the Constitution, free speech, closing borders and a long list of similar things. He was asked what those things had to do with racism. “Because that’s what the government’s been telling us,” he said.”
It’s unclear what company or organization was selling the vitriolic right-wing paraphernalia, but a review of the vendors stationed in front of the Court House Plaza, included Lang T-Shirts. Perhaps John Lang’s business?
Despite the controversy, the booth appeared to enjoy a brisk business. Besides the “Yup, I’m a Racist” T-shirt, the booth sold various anti-Obama and gun paranoia bumper stickers, such as “If you know how many guns you own, you don’t own enough,” “Hitler gave great speeches and had his own symbol too,” “Thank God For FOX NEWS,” Guns and religion, Now more than ever!” and a bumper sticker praying for Obama’s death, “Psalms 109.8, Let his days be few and let another take his office.”
The vendor application for the festival requires applicants to provide detailed information about their merchandise. “When completing the application, please be as specific as possible and note that your application must be approved by the Festival Committee,” reads the application.
And if a vendor’s booth is found to violate the committee’s standards, festival organizers reserved the right to shut it down. “Lexington Festival Committee reserves the right to close any booth selling products unsuitable for a family festival.”
Apparently, proudly donning and selling T-Shirts with the message “Yup, I’m a Racist” is what passes for family entertainment in those parts.