Fourth of July parade float targeting Obama, library draws criticism

The offending float

NORFOLK, Neb. — A float comparing President Barack Obama’s future presidential library to an outhouse has drawn criticism from some after it appeared in the Fourth of July parade in Norfolk.

It featured a wooden outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” and a figure in overalls standing outside the structure.

“I’m angry and I’m scared,” Norfolk resident Glory Kathurima told the Lincoln Journal Star. “The float was not just political; this was absolutely a racial statement.”

Kathurima, an immigrant from Kenya, is raising her 9-year-old daughter in the northeast Nebraska community of roughly 24,000.

Parade organizers with the local Odd Fellows lodge said the float was the most popular one in the event and received an honorable mention award. Parade committee member Rick Konopasek said he didn’t think the float was any more offensive than a political cartoon, and organizers didn’t want to limit what they considered a political viewpoint.

“We don’t feel it’s right to tell someone what they can and can’t express,” he said to the Journal Star. “This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all.”

Konopasek said most of the crowd enjoyed the float. “So should we deny the 95 percent of those that liked it their rights,” he said, “just for the 5 percent of people who are upset?”

Norfolk City Councilman Dick Pfeil told the Omaha World-Herald that he was unhappy with the float, and he wanted to make clear the city had not approved it…