Texas home to controversial billboard message, too
Posted: 08/29/2012 at 1:15 am
A retiree in Gainesville, Texas, Tom Schad, bought a billboard along Interstate 35 there reading: “The SEALs removed one threat to America/Remove the other in November...” A similar billboard along Nappanee Street in Elkhart — which has drawn plenty of attention, both pro and con — reads: “The Navy SEALs removed one threat to America... The voters must remove the other.”
Schad said he’s “not much” of an Obama supporter, but maintained that the gist of the billboard message is merely to get people to the ballot box. Don Nunemaker, head of the the tea party group behind the Elkhart billboard, We the People of Marshall and Fulton Counties, has said the same.
“Get out and vote,” Schad said. “I would prefer they would vote for (Republican presidential hopeful Mitt) Romney, but everyone has their opinion.”
Critics infer in the Elkhart billboard a reference to the 2011 killing of Bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs, and Schad, speaking by phone Tuesday from Texas, alluded to that incident. “SEALs took out ... Bin Laden and the voters need to take out Obama at the ballot box,” he said.
Still, he expressed incredulity at the tenor of foes who say juxtaposition of Bin Laden’s killing and Obama’s political ouster is inappropriate. Elkhart County Democrats and others have demonstrated twice already at the site of the Elkhart billboard and Schad, too, has received negative feedback from critics.
“These people are cruel, rude, mean-spirited. They’re everything they accuse the Republicans of being,” Schad said. He lacks the imagination, he continued, to think up all the sorts of messages critics say are hidden within the billboard slogan.
Schad’s billboard went up in mid-July and will stay until Election Day, Nov. 6, he said. The Elkhart billboard went up in early August and is set to remain until Oct. 31, according to Nunemaker.
The billboards may not stop in Elkhart and Texas.
Both Nunemaker and Schad they’ve been contacted by others from around the country who want to put up similar messages in their communities. Nunemaker said a similar-themed message will go up soon in Whitley County west of Fort Wayne.
“Somebody lit the match, the world heard about it and here we go,” said Nunemaker
Nunemaker said the idea for the Elkhart billboard came from a member of his tea party group while Schad said he was inspired by an e-mail from an acquaintance. Similar messages to those on the Elkhart and Texas billboards have been circulating around the Internet.