The Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is supposed to be a place where people have fun and celebrate the history of agriculture.
The first state fair was in 1901, and since then it has been the place of country music concerts, rodeos and where young people compete with entries in livestock and other events. But the Aug. 8-18 fair got off to a bad PR start when a rodeo clown on Saturday wore a mask of President Barack Obama during the bull-riding competition and was widely cheered by the excited, mostly white, rural Missouri crowd.
The announcer made it worse even asking whether anyone would like to see Obama to be run down by a bull. The crowd in this very red state cheered even more.
Fortunately, state politicians, including Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, criticized the display calling it shameful, unacceptable and disrespectful, The Kansas City Star reports. The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association apologized, calling the act inappropriate.
They are all correct to weigh in. The fair is supposed to be fun, and it is supposed to energize and inform people about farming.
Instead, it revealed a lot about Missouri’s antebellum past and its inability to see the nation’s first African-American president other than minstrel show entertainment. Missouri unfortunately showed its true colors to the nation and the world to the embarrassment of all who’d like to think we are better than that.