Don Christy’s float at last year’s Independence Day Parade in the Indiana town of Sheridan featured him and a buddy in costumes.
“Dress and a wig and lipstick and a sign saying, ‘Just Married,’” the 73-year-old Sheridan retiree told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “Let’s clarify it wasn’t my brother, because I don’t believe in incest.”
One addition to the float made clear his actual views in case anybody did not know.
“I had a rebel flag up there,” he said.
He added, “Because they’re a big deal. Because they’re part of history. I can judge people’s politics just by the way they react.”
In preparation for this year’s parade, he started with a brown-faced mannequin. He added grey to a much shorter version of the afro wigs he used with his sons back in the ’60s, when he put them in blackface for a “Sanford and Son” float.
Christy then clad the mannequin in a white shirt and a brass-buttoned blue blazer with an American flag pin on the lapel. A minstrel effect was imparted by an exaggerated smile and a pair of white gloves.
The next step was to stuff the mannequin hip deep in a toilet bowl that had “ROYAL FLUSH” painted on the base. The whole thing went up on the back of a golf cart. The words on the rear bumper guaranteed that nobody could fail to understand whom the figure represented or the spirit with which it was presented.
Instead of a Confederate flag, this year’s float featured two American ones flanking a four-sided sign on top of the cart. The sign offered the same message in every direction.
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”
The name Trump was what made this float far more disturbing than just what might be expected from a guy who had festooned homophobia with the Confederate flag the year before.
That name will soon be on the ballot as the Republican candidate for president of the United States. And even with the FBI now saying the email investigation will not lead to charges against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, there remains a chance that Trump will succeed Obama in the White House.
In other words, the next president could conceivably be a man whose name seems only fitting atop a decidedly racist float featuring his predecessor. Trump is already the bigot-in-chief.
“Mr. Trump tells it like it is,” Christy told The Daily Beast.
What Christy and so many of Trump’s supporters mean is that The Donald tells it like they see it.
“I’m just an ordinary American.” Christy said of himself.
Christy was at the wheel of the golf cart wearing a blond wig and a prison-orange jump suit, but says he was trying to represent neither the flamboyantly coiffed Trump nor an incarcerated Hillary, only himself. Obama is the sole personage presented, as if the Trump candidacy were not so much a contest against Hillary as a crusade to Make American Great Again by turning back the clock to before Obama and then some.
At least the float tacitly acknowledges that race is a significant factor in Trump’s astonishing ascension from joke to juggernaut. The opposition to Obama has been so disproportionately intense that the only explanation is that a good number of ordinary Americans just cannot accept having had a black man in the White House.
Obama was twice elected by an indisputable majority, but his opponents still speak of him as some kind of foreign interloper. They see only mockery in the American flag lapel pin he wears. Christy’s mannequin may wear such a pin, but he is still not our two-term American president, but a “Lying African.”
What the four-sided sign atop Christy’s float really says is this:
One person who was offended by the float was 31-year-old Darryl Brownie, who attended with his four kids, the youngest 2, the eldest 9. He posted a photo of the float on Facebook that came to the attention of the Indianapolis Star.
“The parade, it’s for kids,” Brownie told an Indy Star reporter. “It was just wrong.”
Christy has since apologized to anybody who was offended, but added that such a person would have to be a “total liberal.” The label would seem to fit Brownie, who works with Habitat for the Humanity building houses for the poor rather than gilded towers and luxury golf courses.
Christy is not prepared to say what he will include in next year’s float if Trump is indeed elected president.
“That’s a year from now,” he said. “How would I know?”