Arcadia parade float depicting Hillary Clinton in prison while being hit with water balloons stirs controversy
|by Matthew Rezab, Staff Writer|
August 2, 2016
It was a typical summer celebration in small-town Iowa. The sun was shining on children carrying bags full of candy as the Arcadia Fire Department was celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday with a parade, a party in the park and a big water fight that would serve as the grand finale.
A young blond boy, no more than 8 years old, ran out into the street near the intersection of West Center and South Gault streets because one float was handing out water balloons. The child grabbed his balloon, took aim and did his best Nolan Ryan impression as he fired the balloon at a man dressed in an orange jumpsuit and Hillary Clinton mask while standing on a platform inside bars, fencing and barbed wire above a “Hillary For Prison” sign tacked onto the side. Bull’s eye. The prideful smile of a job well done was written all over the boy’s face.
Some in the crowd were laughing and cheering as the float rolled by, but others could be heard moaning and grumbling that it was “over the top” or “a bit too much.” “It was my idea,” Kyle Julin of Manilla said. “Pretty much me and Josh (Reetz). It took us about a day-and-a-half to build.” Julin said he, Reetz and Adam Corky (Clinton impersonator) are not affiliated with any official political organization. Julin said he’s an independent and as of March 2014 Reetz was a registered Democrat.
Julin said the crew had been throwing around the idea of entering the parade for a while. “Probably a month ago we joked around about it, and at the beginning of last week we decided to do it,” Julin said. We started on it Wednesday night.” Julin said all the feedback he’s heard has been positive. “Even the police and everybody was positive about it, especially on social media,” he said. “We couldn’t get pictures with some people because of where they work and their political agendas. But, only one group booed us. My consensus from that was 99 percent to 1 percent liked it.” Not everyone thought it was so great.
Tim Tracy, chairman of the Carroll County Democrats, said demonstrations like this don’t help things in an already charged political climate. “The Carroll County Democrats participated in the Arcadia celebration in an appropriate and dignified manner,” Tracy said. “We saw a lot of children along the parade route. Children aren’t politically savvy. It’s sad to imagine that some of them may have been wondering why they were being mean to that lady and throwing things at her.”
Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions at work, said the whole thing just made her feel sad. “I’m glad my grand kids weren’t there to see it,” she said. “Here we have what could be the first woman president in our history — and to treat her like that — I thought was disrespectful to her and disrespectful to women.”
Craig Williams, chairman of the Carroll County Republicans, said his organization had nothing to do with the float, but did promote photos of it on FaceBook. “I probably wouldn’t have done that myself, but I can certainly understand some frustrations from people over all the illegal things (Clinton) has done,” Williams said. “I don’t feel it was offensive to women. It could have been anybody in there, anyone who got away with what she did.”
Julin estimated his group handed out around 400 water balloons during the parade. As for people taking offense to the float, “I mean if they do, they do,” Julin said. “We believe if Hillary gets in, it’ll be bad for moving our political agenda forward. I will vote for my own personal view when it comes down to it. We can’t even fathom the possibility of how she’s able to do it. Also, it wasn’t just kids, there were a bunch of adults grabbing water balloons and cheering."