Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

August 20, 2013

EDITORIALS: Back to school costs; Rodeo clown over-reaction

(Continued)

Others called the incident “racist” and “degrading.” Some Missouri Republicans joined in condemning the performance.

To be sure, the performance of rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling and his supporting cast was tasteless. Gessling, who says he did the announcing while an unnamed colleague wore the Obama get-up, can be heard over the public address system saying, “I know I’m a clown; he’s just running around acting like one.” He can also be heard warning the Obama clown that the next bull was “gonna getcha!”

Gessling has been banned for life from performing at the state fair. Other performers at the rodeo have been ordered to take sensitivity training. Another rodeo announcer, Mark Ficken, resigned last week as president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association, a position to which he had been elected just two days previously.

But the reaction goes well beyond a mere clown purge. The Missouri branch of the NAACP has called for a federal investigation into the incident.

“I think that a hate crime occurred,” Missouri NAACP chapter President Mary Ratliff told KXNT Radio in Las Vegas. ”I think a hate crime occurs when you use a person’s race to depict who they are and to make degrading comments, gestures, et cetera, against them.”

It’s telling that the bulk of the outrage directed against the rodeo clown is coming from Democrats, whose fellow travelers mocked President George W. Bush mercilessly throughout his term in office. Bush was depicted as a chimp, as a murderer, as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler — but this was when we were told “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Now, even gentle mockery is considered a “hate crime.”

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh compared the outrage to the Muslim fundamentalist reaction to the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. It’s an apt analogy.

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Editorials
  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014

  • Does fracking cause earthquakes? Just in case, get insurance

    There are no professional geologists on the staff of the Tahlequah Daily Press, so we can’t unequivocally say just how much damage fracking is causing to the environment.

    June 27, 2014

  • As chamber scandal expands, plenty of blame to go around

    If the proverbial buck being passed over the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce scandal were a real dollar bill, it would already be worn so thin you could read this newspaper through it.

    June 23, 2014

  • Suicide prevention bill may solve other problems as well

    A bipartisan bill signed into law recently by Gov. Mary Fallin could give schools they leverage and resources they need to help thwart suicide.
    If the initiative works, it could make giant strides in reversing an alarming trend in suicide among teens, and increasingly, among pre-teens. That’s especially important for Oklahoma, where the suicide rate per capita is the 13th highest in the nation.

    June 20, 2014

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