On Saturday night in Sedalia, Missouri, the Missouri State Fair disgraced the nation and demonstrated that racism is alive and well in America. During the event, a rodeo clown donned a face mask of President Obama and the announcer encouraged violence against the President as the crowd wildly cheered on.
According to Show-Me Progress,
“Just prior to the start of the bull riding event, one of the clowns came out dressed in this (an Obama mask). The announcer wanted to know if anyone would like to see Obama run down by a bull. The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather. One of the clowns ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy. Finally, a bull came close enough to him that he had to move, so he jumped up and ran away to the delight of the onlookers hooting and hollering from the stands.”
Here’s video of the act via NBC News:
The act has outraged Missourians across the state and people across the nation. It is simply unbelievable that the taxpayer funded state event that showcases Missouri would do such a thing. But it happened, and state and federal politicians across party lines are condemning it.
The Jackson County Democratic Committee reports that Missouri State Representative and House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said in a statement on Sunday:
“I am both angered and disgusted by the blatant racism that was displayed at the Missouri State Fair. It is appalling that the Fair organizers would allow such a distasteful display. This is an embarrassment to the People of Missouri. I will not support future funding for an event that will condone racist acts and is so blatantly disrespectful to the President. Clearly racism is alive and well in State of Missouri. I never imagined that I would see this type of display in my state in 2013.”
The criticism didn’t end there. Senator Clair McCaskill also released a statement about the stunt.
“It’s shameful and unacceptable. The State Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars, and is supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state we love. But the young Missourians who witnessed this stunt learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse.”
She went to say that it’s never “acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt, and joke about harming the President of our great nation. Missouri is better than this, and I expect someone to be held accountable.”
Governor Jay Nixon made a statement through his spokesman,
“The Governor agrees that the performance was disrespectful and offensive, and does not reflect the values of Missourians or the State Fair.”
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder also criticized the event on Twitter and called for the Governor to hold the people responsible for the stunt accountable.
The @MoStateFair celebrates Missouri and our people. I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night. We are better than this.
— Peter Kinder (@PeterKinder) August 11, 2013
Some Fair attendees who witnessed the event said they watched in fear as the audience grew into a wild frenzy in support of violence against the President.
48-year-old Perry Beam said he “began to feel a sense of fear” because of the crowd’s reaction. “It was that level of enthusiasm.” Beam continued,
“They mentioned the president’s name, I don’t know, 100 times. It was sickening. It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you’d see on TV.”
Fox 4 in Kansas City reports that the announcer of the rodeo was “Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and a school superintendent.” According to Fox 4, Ficken introduced the clown as “President Obama.”
“Working up the crowd, Ficken said, “We’re going to stomp Obama now.”
“As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don’t you move,” he said. “He’s going to getcha, getcha getcha, getcha.””
Missouri State Fair officials later apologized for the stunt on Facebook, writing:
“The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday’s event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday’s rodeo badly missed that mark.”
This stunt is the most embarrassing and nauseating acts to come out of Missouri since Rush Limbaugh. It certainly feels like this is something that Limbaugh would do. But this act occurred at a state fair and was carried out by rodeo professionals much to the amusement of most of the crowd in attendance. It’s a sad reflection of Missouri and demonstrates once again that racism is not dead in America. There are still those who commit racist acts and there are those who cheer for those acts. Such a politically charged stunt is completely irresponsible and does not belong anywhere in America, let alone a state fair. The level of hate and encouragement of violence against President Obama makes Missourians look like wild animals in the eyes of the nation. Those who are responsible for this should lose their jobs and then some. This act was clearly meant to alienate liberals in the crowd and appeal to opponents of the President. Families attend these events with their children, and as result, children were exposed to hate, racism, and violence on a stage that is supposed to be family friendly. No doubt, many people will avoid attending the Missouri State Fair in the future and all state funding for it should certainly be severed. As a native Missourian, this stunt sickens me to the core of my being, and it is this writer’s hope that all Missourians will not be viewed as violent racists because of the actions of a few jackasses.