The All-Star Rodeo Challenge came to Madison, WI last weekend, and the farmer took me and my kids. I was not thrilled about going, but I try to be open-minded when it comes to stuff that is new to me that I am not ever wishing I will get a chance to experience.

I asked the farmer if rodeos are bad for the animals.

He said, “City people probably think so. But most farmers don’t.”

He told me that if I really hated it, we could leave.

I really hated it before there were any animals. Before there were animals there was the flag, rising above the dirt ring, and the announcer saying everyone should sing the Star Spangled Banner to honor “the flag that protects our troops, and our churches and our great country.”

I looked over at the farmer for churches, and before I could roll my eyes, the announcer said, “Everyone please rise in the name of Jesus and sing the Star Spangled Banner.”

I told my kids to stay seated.

The farmer stayed seated out of solidarity even though he hates standing out. It was a great moment of compromise for us.

We watched the rodeo. There was a clown. The kids did not quite know what was going on and they wanted to know why the cowboys had weird clothes. But then Ronald McDonald came out — right into the bull ring. The kids recognized him immediately, and then they realized the clown was not a cowboy; with Ronald McDonald present, the world seemed to fall into place.

Then out came the animals.

In between cowboys falling violently to the ground, the announcer would say jokes like, “My girlfriend says she wants to get married. I told her I hope she finds someone nice.”

The theme of the evening, in general, was “real men get thrown off bulls and treat women like crap.”

Until the women came out. They were acrobats on fast running horses. Sort of like the clowns, only dressed like Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The most special time, I think, was when two girls did tricks on one horse. The girls did not share a horse because the tricks are more difficult that way, it was more like the girls shared a horse to make you think they’d be available for a threesome after the show.

Luckily, this was lost on my sons. And the farmer acknowledged that this was not a family values kind of thing.

Okay. So we stayed. And then, the clown started talking about doctors. He said there are 120,000 doctors in the US and there are 70,000 accidental deaths a year. And there are 80 million gun owners in the US, and there are 12,000 accidental deaths a year. Then he shouted out, “So doctors are more dangerous than guns! So Washington, keep your hands off our guns and our health care!”

I looked at the kids. They were concentrating on their popcorn.

Then, out of nowhere, the clown brought out a wig, that had dreadlocks, and he put on a Rastafarian hat, and he started pretending that he was Barack Obama. He said, “I feel so presidential.” And he made jokes about whether Obama is a US citizen.

Why am I telling you this?

First of all, it made me feel lonely. I have heard the doctor/gun owner argument before, but not in a stadium, in Madison, WI, which is one of the most left-leaning cities in the country. And I know there is racism in this country. But I can’t believe that not a single person in that stadium yelled out anything after a racist joke. I would expect, actually, that people would boo and hiss and throw things into the ring. But no one said a word.

I felt lonely that I live in a city where this could happen. I wish I could find a place where I feel like I fit in. I think I find it, and then I don’t. And really, how could I even think that I’d fit in at a rodeo? But I kind of thought the place would be full of people like me and the farmer. Now I think I don’t even know what that means.

Another reason the rodeo makes me sad is that McDonald’s sponsors it. My ticket stub says “All-Star Rodeo Challenge. Pre-show: McDonald’s Cowboys 4 Kids”. Somehow the whole thing is more upsetting because it’s sanctioned by McDonald’s. And they know better.

My company, Brazen Careerist, just launched a company section in our social network. The reason we did that is because according to Cone, 50% of generation Y communicate with companies through social media. And Jeremy Owyang, from Forrester Research reports that, “In approximately two years social networks will be more powerful than corporate web sites. Brands will serve community interests and grow based on community advocacy.”

Today, young people see corporate brands as an extension of their identity. This is why Facebook has been so successful with corporate fan pages — young people want to express themselves by linking themselves to corporate brands they like.

And, people who manage their careers well end up paying more attention to a company’s reputation for caring about people and community than what any given job description is. After all, a job description can change the day you walk in the door, but how a company participates in the world around it is not likely to change quickly.

Okay. So. I confess to being relatively close to the McDonald’s brand. I didn’t use to be. I never ate at McDonald’s in my life until I moved to Madison. But in Madison, it’s a long, cold winter, and McDonald’s has great indoor playgrounds, all over the Madison area. And each is different and fun in it’s own way. So we tour them all winter.

Also, now that I understand the beef industry a little better, I understand that McDonald’s single-handedly cornered the beef industry, yes, but also listened to consumer outcry over animal conditions, and meat quality, and improved both (by hiring Temple Grandin.)

So I like McDonald’s. But today, I can tell you that if I had a job at McDonald’s, I’d be lonely. Because they sponsored an event that teaches kids prejudice and hate and racism. And if companies want to attract good employees, they need to be good corporate citizens. Those are the type of companies we want to work for.

One of the most important changes in work life is that we do not define our career by working for one company—we change jobs too frequently. Today, we define ourselves by the integrity with which we manage our career. That requires working with companies we respect. The integrity of individual companies matters more today than it used to—it affects the bottom line for those companies on both the consumer side and the employee side. We watch corporate brands closely, to see how we will use them to extend our own brand.

Finally, since it’s Martin Luther King Day, and since Psychology Today just published a study that says people feel better if they do an act of activism, I have a proposal:

We should each twitter today:

@McDonalds Racism is not okay and neither is hate. Please stop your support of the All-Star Rodeo. http://bit.ly/4AiXT1

UPDATE! Here’s a response from McDonald’s:

Hi Penelope,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This appears to be a local pre-show program in support of a local Ronald McDonald House Charities fundraiser. Rest assured, McDonald’s does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We are currently looking into this matter.

Jessica Thompson

Manager, U.S. Communications

McDonald’s USA

Enter your name and email address below. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

428 replies
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  1. Jim C.
    Jim C. says:

    That doesn’t sound like any rodeo they’d have in the west. I guess they do things differently in Wisconsin.

    I still don’t understand why you reacted so violently to the announcer’s only joke you quoted. That was Henny Youngman material!

    In a real rodeo, the main event for women is barrel racing, although women also compete in team roping. In the school-age events, girls also do the catch-and-release version of calf roping.

    The intermission entertainment is different. It often includes trick riders (of either sex) or trick ropers. But I have never seen trick riders dressed like strippers (which is what the Dallas Cowgirls look like.) Is that how they dressed in Wisconsin? In the west they normally dress in jeans, fancy shirts, hats, and $500 boots — same as the male riders, only prettier.

    The clowns in a real rodeo are bullfighters; their job is to distract the bulls after riders get bucked off. (A bucking bronco understands it’s a competition; a bull is too stupid to understand anything but that there’s a carnivore on his back. Bulls try to kill their riders.)

    Anyway, I have never seen a rodeo clown try to do stand-up jokes. (They do slapstick a lot between events, though.)

    I agree that doing the dreadlock thing about Obama is just plain stupid. Race humor has no place in any event. (Tell
    that to Jackie Mason or Chris Rock, though.)

  2. J.D.
    J.D. says:

    I re-tweeted because I hate racism too, & am aware that it is alive & being taught to today’s children.

    And then I got some backtalk from a black professional saying that she didn’t see anything racist about the article. Where she lives is a pretty white community so I’m a little surprised she felt that way. Then she went on a rant about why more white men are hired than black men. Chill out!

    Great article, Penelope!

    • KarenM
      KarenM says:

      1 – JD, well, I am not black, but biracial.. proud of ALL my heritage which includes Black, White and Hispanic..

      2 – your calling me Black, to me is in itself discriminatory in its own.. Why would you consider me black? and not white? or Hispanic?

      3- Then you also mention the “pretty white community” that I live in — really, do you know where I live? did you know it was and is an extremely Diverse city? In Southern California? but funny you used the words PRETTY when associated with White.. Not funny Ha Ha, but more funny like ARE you %^^%%*#$% kidding?

      4- So you are hating racism, and consider someone putting a wig on their head racist.. (do you freak out at halloween as well) – but when Minorities are being discriminated against, that it a CHill out factor..

      Wow, this is the same type of disingenuous B.S that repesents this article, and the reason it was written..

  3. Marilynn
    Marilynn says:

    I went to my first and last rodeo two years ago in Prescott, AZ. After rising and saluting to a John Wayne and Ronald Reagan film clip, singing the National Anthem and pledging allegiance. We were treated to a baby monkey dressed like a cowboy while strapped to a dog. Needless to say my husband, child and I were incredulous..

    We stood up and left.

    I shall tweet today.

  4. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Two things.

    “I asked the farmer if rodeos are bad for the animals.
    He said, "City people probably think so. But most farmers don't."”

    This kind of makes me sick. People who run puppy mills often say the same thing.

    “When you honor the flag and the anthem you’re honoring the founding principles of our country.”

    Our country no longer honors its own founding principles.

    • Jeffrey
      Jeffrey says:

      “‘I asked the farmer if rodeos are bad for the animals.
      He said, ‘City people probably think so. But most farmers don't.'”

      This kind of makes me sick. People who run puppy mills often say the same thing.”

      Or perhaps city people are simply self-righteously out of touch? Perhaps there’s a legitimate reason most farmers don’t find rodeos inhumane, and that it’s people sitting hundreds of miles away that just like to preach?

      You know what makes me sick? People subscribing to movements without a real understanding of the issues at stake and preaching ignorance because it’s safe and popular.

      • Brian
        Brian says:

        Why would farmers who raise livestock, or have raised livestock, not believe it harms animals? Because they have already decided that these animals are not capable of feeling pain, or loss. That they live only to serve the demands of humans, and they need not consider anything that might be in conflict with that fundamental belief.

        It has nothing to do with self-righteousness. In fact, it is more self-righteous to think that animals are here for humans to ride, tie up, chop up, and eat, than for someone to argue against such practices.

    • a farmer
      a farmer says:

      In defense of the farmer’s comment: He may have been thinking as I am right now. City people often do not understand animal husbandry. They often accuse farmers of cruelty, when, in fact, the farmer is caring for his livestock in the best, healthiest way. His livestock, after all, is his livelihood.

      For example, I raise a flock of wool sheep. This means they’re bred specifically for heavy coats of wool, which I’ll shear them of in spring. I’ve had people accuse me of neglecting my sheep because I keep them outside in winter. Here’s the thing: I leave a door open to the barn. The sheep choose to stay outside because this is their natural environment. If I were to enclose them in a draft-free barn, they would sweat from all that wool and get pneumonia from excess humidity .

      Another example: If there’s fresh snow I don’t water my sheep. I could put water out every day, but sheep will eat snow first and the water just sits there and freezes.

      I’m not saying I agree with rodeos. I’m only speculating what the farmer may have been referring to with his comment.

      • Pirate Jo
        Pirate Jo says:

        In fact I am from Iowa, with farmers in my family. Not exactly a city person, and no not a sissy about sheep eating snow or standing outside. It’s true, they will wander into the barn if they get cold.

        But Jeffrey’s knee-jerk defensiveness is interesting. It reminds me of the comment someone else made, about the Japanese reacting defensively when people criticize whale-hunting. Maybe there is a perfectly good reason for an outsider to be shocked when they see someone inflict pain on an animal. If it’s something you see all the time, maybe you get used to it and don’t think about it – but that’s nothing to be proud of.

      • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
        Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

        What you are describing with the sheep doesn’t sound cruel but many common farming practices are cruel and are not actually necessary in the name of good animal husbandry, only if you want to grow specific breeds at the fastest possible rate in the smallest amount of space. For example, crating a farrowing sow. CAFO [concentrated animal feeding operation ie. factory farm] piggery farmers will tell you this is necessary to stop the sow from throwing or squashing or eating her young. Alternative pork producers will tell you this is crap and they have none of these problems because they select the right breeds, the right sows for the job, and give them a natural environment where they can express normal behaviours (like being able to turn around or build a nest). CAFO farmers seem to think their way is the only way and anyone who disagrees with what they do is ignorant and uneducated. That’s simply not the case. I wonder what sort of pig farmer Penelope’s fiance is?

  5. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    Some ‘experts’ say that what qualifies as inappropriate behavior or cheating on your spouse is doing something that you wouldn’t be doing if your spouse was present.

    A parallel can be drawn from this. If you are black, and one of your white friends (amongst a group of other white friends) pulled out a Rasta wig, put it on, & hinted that they were mimic-ing you…how would that make you feel? If that makes you uncomfortable, that is what matters.

    Perhaps racist isn’t the exact term, but the point of the article is that bigotry, racism, and stereotypes abound in this country and are being taught to our children (tomorrow’s adults).

  6. @mattsingley
    @mattsingley says:

    Are you *positive* that McDonald’s is actually sponsoring the rodeo?

    I see the McDonald’s clown you are talking about prominently displayed on the front of the YouTube video embedded on the rodeo’s front page, and I read about your ticket stub saying McDonald’s…but when I go to the sponsor page of the website, it doesn’t say a thing about McDonald’s. A lot of big brands are there like Dodge, Jack Daniels and Wrangler, but no McDonald’s. I do see a phone number for the All-Star Rodeo, it is 563-652-3326. The number for McDonald’s corporate is 1-800-244-6227. I think it is worth a call to both of them to clarify if McDonald’s is indeed a sponsor, and if so, to what extent. Also, why are you so fixated on McDonald’s for this? Is it because of the McDonald’s clown? I would suggest contacting Dodge, et al. I’m guessing they are the true money behind the rodeo and would likely appreciate hearing from you.

    I’m all for activism, and if McDonald’s is sponsoring something that is hateful and offensive then I think you are absolutely right to bring it to their attention as chances are they don’t know what is going on. I’m also all for diligence and process, and I think a call to both McDonald’s and the All-Star Rodeo *before* stirring the pot online very visibly is mandatory, otherwise you are doing nothing more than creating an online mob that doesn’t necessarily have all of the facts.

    I hope you do get in touch with McDonald’s, and if you do, publish their response here on your blog. After all, I am assuming the point of activism is to create positive change, not just angry online mobs.

    Oh, and before anybody replies with “sounds like this guys works for McD’s or the rodeo”…I never even heard of the rodeo before this post, and I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for years, nor will I for years to come. I’m a fan of neither, but I also don’t like to see people or corporations hung out to dry without at least a little investigation.

    UPDATE: Before posting my comment I took my own advice and called the rodeo directly. They tell me that McDonald’s is NOT a corporate sponsor. In fact, the rodeo was raising money for the McDonald’s charity, the Ronald McDonald house. I’m not sure how this plays into your effort to lambast McDonald’s on Twitter, but you may want to fact check a bit next time.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      In response to your update, I’d say that McDonald’s should be equally concerned about this event using its face/name/charity as it would be if it were sponsoring the event itself.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I don’t think it matters if McDonald’s is actually paying money. Ronald McDonald is a key piece of the show– he is there much more than I’m telling, (see the link I included) which is an implicit endorsement.

      The presence of Ronald McDonald is specifically making the show kid-oriented. And I think that whether or not this is racist content, it’s not appropriate for kids. And McDonald’s is very careful to not put Ronald on kid-unfriendly stuff. They don’t even put Ronald McDonald’s image on a hamburger — only on the milk.

      -Penelope

      • @mattsingley
        @mattsingley says:

        When I called the rodeo they specifically told me that McDonald’s was not paying money. In fact, they said they are paying McDonald’s money by supporting their charity.

        It does matter because you are publicly calling out McDonald’s for something they aren’t doing. Are you saying that facts don’t matter? What I am suggesting is that before you call together a mob you check your facts. I think you should have called both McDonald’s and the rodeo before tying either to racism. That’s a pretty serious accusation, and timed particularly to a very important day.

      • Mike
        Mike says:

        Penelope,

        You just don’t get it, do you? If McDonald’s brand is misused without their knowledge, it’s not their fault, and you are wrong to publicly accuse them of racism. That’s the legal definition of libel, and they should sue you for it. Let me put it this way: If somebody made racist comments while impersonating you without your knowledge, would you want to take the blame for it?

  7. finance girl
    finance girl says:

    I grew up going to rodeos, most notably the Snake River Stampede in Idaho.

    I have cousins who are riders and one who was a bull rider.

    I think I know the culture pretty well.

    I would have also taken offense at the ‘clown-as-obama’ skit as well, and would have cringed at the ‘stand in the name of jesus’ for the star spangled banner.

    I would have stood but that’s because I am a Christian, but the whole thing would have made me embarrassed about 1) US Western culture and 2) being a Christian.

    Sounds like a pretty amateur rodeo. The more professional ones are actually alot better…..fwiw

  8. Brent
    Brent says:

    Sounds like a real pisser of a day. I’m sorry you went through that. But as I was reading your post, before you even got to the name of Jesus and the Star-Spangled Banner and the racist rodeo clown, I was thinking, “What in the world is she doing going to a rodeo? What makes her think she’s going have fun at this thing?” Lo and behold, you didn’t have fun at all — and for a lot of different reasons, not just one or two. Seriously, what were you thinking? Although, in light of your previous post about how you’d rather have an interesting life than a happy one, I guess you’re succeeding.

    I know you’ve done a lot of research into positive psychology, but a search of your blog revealed no reference to the work of psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, who has a book out right now and who was recently interviewed in a magazine called The Sun (full disclosure: my wife conducted the interview). Fredrickson says that instead of trying to pursue happiness as an end state, we would do better to focus on specific positive emotions in our day-to-day lives. I thought of this principle when I read yesterday about how you wanted to be as “complacent” as everyone else in Wisconsin, but when you went to a rodeo in Wisconsin you hated it. It was complacency that made that clown’s racist comedy routine possible. Are you sure you want to be complacent? Are you sure happiness is overrated? Maybe it’s just misconstrued.

    Here’s a link to an excerpt of the Fredrickson interview, where she talks a little about how to unpack the concept of happiness:

    http://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/401/the_science_of_happiness

  9. Carol G
    Carol G says:

    … consider someone putting a wig on their head racist.. (do you freak out at halloween as well)…
    …same type of disingenuous B.S that repesents this article, and the reason it was written..

    KarenM- Maybe some wounds are too open for some of us and not for others. I have heard the behind your back things that white people say because – I look like the white pack. There is a violent physical thing that could have killed my son that occurred here in WI – I don’t even want to write details – but it was in his opinion influenced by race. I thought that this whole grey area is what sent Dave Chappelle off to Africa to clear his head and pretty much turn his back on a successful show. If Dave Chappelle – one of the most brilliant people I can think of – had that ill feeling about his own productions, wondering if his race humor wasn’t feeding racism – why can’t Penelope express that she feels sickened by a white rasta wig wearing clown who thinks that putting on dreadlocks make him presidential? Because somebody is white, it does not mean that they can’t have opinions or gut feelings on race. I am happy that somebody here in Madison, WI has written honestly about such an incident and others are compelled to give it some thought and respond. Sure – this is not the stuff of tragedy. But most white people – at least in this part of the world – are not forced to think about race at all.

  10. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    To @mattsingley –> thanks so much for the posts!

    To P Trunk –> So now the issue is not racism but that “it’s not appropriate for kids”.

  11. J
    J says:

    Wow, what an ignorant woman you are! I feel great pity for you and those poor children. I happen to know one of the “threesome” girls and she is a lovely,intelligent and hard working person. She has a strong set of morals and is just an amazing person. How dare you make such an assumption based on a trick she performed! Shame on you lady, you are truly an ugly human being. You and everything about you is what’s wrong with this world today! What an embarrassment!

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      So let’s get this straight J. You are upset because you think it is wrong to judge someone without knowing them; as was done to your ‘friend’. You feel so strongly that it is ‘wrong’, that you turn around and exhibit the exact same behavior that you accused Ms. Trunk of. To use your own words, “Shame on you lady”.

      • J
        J says:

        I judged what I believe to be ignorant comments made by what I feel is an ignorant woman. The author posted this to the public to read and form an opinion on, I formed mine. Let me rephrase;It is my belief, based on your over all blog, in which you voice your opinion that you are ignorant. However, since I do not know you personally I can only hope that this is just a momentary laps in judgment and you normally check your facts, or backgrounds of the people/companies you bash before any bashing is done. Ahhh, now don’t we all feel better?? :)

    • Brian
      Brian says:

      Indeed! Instead of feigning outrage at Penelope, perhaps you should let your friend know what the perception is of her routine. Perhaps she might want to make changes if that is not the impression she wants to give her audience.

    • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
      Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

      @J Penelope made no such assumption about the women performing the tricks. She said the trick conveyed that impression. She was commenting on the performance, not the person! The purpose of any art or performance is to evoke a feeling, and it’s entirely appropriate to comment on and analyse that. If you don’t know that, then you are the one who is ignorant. If you do know that, then perhaps you should retract your ill-founded comment.

  12. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    Borat.

    Those were real people. Real Americans, unfortunately.

    Sigh. I don’t get surprised anymore by this stuff, but it’s still disappointing.

    • Proud Okie
      Proud Okie says:

      You are welcome to stay & work in this great state of Oklahoma…..just be LEGAL!! Otherwise, you should move to Texas, or hey, back HOME! The state of Oklahoma did not invite you here, you came on your own free will-ILLEGALLY! If you don’t want to follow our laws, don’t stay!!

  13. jen
    jen says:

    thank you for making me feel less alone in some of my experiences in oklahoma and beyond. of course everyone stayed seated. the way all pulpits will remain silent over pat robertson’s disgusting remarks, and the way democrats will give a pass to harry reid.

    years ago, mcdonalds decentralized public relations. it was a good thing for the most part, but in regard to the rodeo we see how decentralization can hurt them – because mcdonald’s would never, ever stand for that. i’m sure you’ll hear from them. in oklahoma, they are a champion for hispanic teens – possibly the only major corporate champion in a state that made it a felony (you read that correctly) to hire an illegal alien. send me to jail.

  14. KarenM
    KarenM says:

    Mattingly,
    congrats for doing the Investigative reporting that the said reporter should have done herself.. hmm.. mcdonalds surely will not be too happy about this

    To all others, well,let’s get real.. were any of you there? to even see what was said?

    all this fuss over a wig? really? seriously? and considering the now proven tremendous lack of research that went into this, the fact that many consider to embrace the credulity of this article is indeed incredulous in itself

  15. KarenM
    KarenM says:

    Carol G
    Real discrimination does indeed hurt. Been there, done that..

    Which is why it is important not to trivialize REAL discrimination which hurts many from something as doubtful as what has been presented here..

    Who was hurt by the clown? Which then also questions should we ban all comedians from making jokes? Should We stop Halloween? Should Circuses also be banned as well? Should fat people be insulted because santa is fat? and rolly, and jolly? Where do we stop?

    You may find this interesting re free speech and aclu

    http://www.aclu.org/studentsrights/expression/12808pub19941231.html

  16. Mila
    Mila says:

    What a miserable woman!!
    Pull that liberal wad out of your @ss and get a sense of humor.
    Really, this is the furthest I’ve ever seen a crazy woman stretch to try to justify as a reason for her own boredom with herself. Self project lately?
    She’s got issues. And I can imagine those kids have such an incredibly boring childhood….being taught to judge so quickly and all…
    Open minded? I think her mind was made up from the beginning.

  17. Anna
    Anna says:

    I just want to make a small point.
    Saying “all this fuss over a wig?” is a little bit like saying:
    “All this fuss over a bus seat?,” or
    “All this fuss over a water fountain?,” or
    “All this fuss over a school?,” or
    “All this fuss over a flag?”
    …and so on, and so forth.

    • karenm
      karenm says:

      Anna,
      re your comment -seriously, you compare a Clown in Dreadlocks with Straight out Discrimination? Really?

      Who was hurt? Obama? really? this person made fun of a president, but did they actually make racial slurs against a Group of individuals or race.. I doubt that sincerely.. even in small town usa as described by penelope.

      This was probably a situation of bad humor, but to call this Racism.. well that is Disturbing at its best..

      —–
      Author: Anna
      Comment:
      I just want to make a small point.
      Saying “all this fuss over a wig?” is a little bit like saying:
      “All this fuss over a bus seat?,” or
      “All this fuss over a water fountain?,” or “All this fuss over a school?,” or “All this fuss over a flag?”
      …and so on, and so forth.

    • karenm
      karenm says:

      Anna,
      re your comment -seriously, you compare a Clown in Dreadlocks with Straight out Discrimination? Really?

      Who was hurt? Obama? really? this person made fun of a president, but did they actually make racial slurs against a Group of individuals or race.. I doubt that sincerely.. even in small town usa as described by penelope.

      This was probably a situation of bad humor, but to call this Racism.. well that is Disturbing at its best..

      —–
      Author: Anna
      Comment:
      I just want to make a small point.

      • Anna
        Anna says:

        My point was that what appears minor may not be so minor to everyone. It isn’t fair to marginalized those who find this situation offensive. There were people in the 50’s and 60’s who didn’t find quite a few things offensive then that would turn all our faces red today.

      • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
        Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

        @KarenM What’s the connection between Obama and Rastafarians? C’mon think about it. There’s only one possible connection, isn’t there? Now tell me if this joke would have worked if they’d dressed Dubya up as a Rastafarian? Do you still think it’s not racist?

        What the skit reminds me of most is “blacking up”.

  18. Dave
    Dave says:

    Getting kind of smarmey here…this must have gotten out on the righty blogs. The trolls will be coming out in force now.

    • @mattsingley
      @mattsingley says:

      You consider politely asking an author to do a fact-check before lighting torches and storming the corporate castle smarmy? A great diversionary tactic is to make something emotional by calling up politics like “righty blogs” and “trolls”.

      As I mentioned in my original comment above, I would just like to know what both the All-Star Rodeo and McDonald’s have to say about this before calling for a public assault and clearly tying a corporation to accusations of racism.

  19. Lance
    Lance says:

    Just RT’ed this, thanks for bringing it up. There’s a lot I don’t like about McDonalds, not the least of which is the FOOD. Full disclosure, I do occasionally eat there.

  20. Bert
    Bert says:

    After reading the blog and reading some of these comments, this is what the world is coming too. Do you have your facts right, its already been proven they are not.So are all of the other statments that you make correct. I don’t think so scooter. Not standing for the star stangled banner? Why didn’t you stand up? No respect for America’s Flag? What are you teaching or not teaching your kids? If you don’t like America along with the rest of you that say its ok not to stand for the star spangled banner, just leave America and see how good it is in some other country!! Your statment “The girls did not share a horse because the tricks are more difficult that way”,WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DIFFICULT IN TRICK RIDING “it was more like the girls shared a horse to make you think they’d be available for a threesome after the show” I didn’t know they taught that in the Jewish faith, maybe I need to become Jewish..Thinking that the girls that are trick riding are wanting to have a threesome?, Wow. Boy I would never explain that one to my kids. And Yes I know those girls, performed with them for a week last December in Las Vegas. Their group is an outstanding group of girls.And tricks on horses that was abused or mistreated before the girls got them and they have fixed the horses into something good. More than what I can say about you. But other posts on here about a baby monkey in Precott, get your facts right people, that was whiplash and he is at least 15 years old. He is also a spokesperson for Taco John,I’m sorry, now you will go after Taco John. Wow, Then another comment on here that clowns are the ones that protect the bullriders from the bull, boy you are so wrong, there are Rodeo clowns and there are Bullfighters, maybe you should understand the difference before you post something on here that you know nothing about.I just can’t beleive people are so dumb, and yes I have freedom of speech so I can say that to you ignorant sob’s that has nothing better to do but put other people down that is trying to do good, be honest and work hard for their living instead of looking for public aid. You know Rodeo, Monster Truck,Bullriding and Pro wrestling are industries that attract quite a few people, hard working folks that try to do good but like alittle entertainment that is a little wild. Are you just jealous that you only have a blog that people can stroke your ignorant ego. I’m more fired up than before I started typing. As Walter would say “Dumb Ass”!!!

  21. Liz
    Liz says:

    “Look up the definition of racism…”

    “Racism” is the belief that certain groups display negative characteristics. “Racist” conduct is the portrayal of negative traits as being associated with a particular group.

    It’s funny – remember when Rush Limbaugh claimed that criticism of Bush counted as “treason” because we are at war? It’s funny that the same people who agreed with him now think it’s perfectly ok to claim the President of the United States has no claim to the office. You realize that a medieval king would have you doinks drawn and quartered for that kind of obvious treason, right?

    Anyway, this is American and you can say what you want about the President. But maybe you shouldn’t take so many liberties with the dictionary.

  22. LisaF
    LisaF says:

    Well, didn’t this post unleash a firestorm of diverse comments; good, bad, thought-provoking and downright snarky on all fronts. As a Midwesterner that doesn’t care for rodeos either, I can understand why you felt out of place. What you described doesn’t sound any type of rodeo I’ve ever seen or heard of. I used to work at a Midwest ad agency that created advertising for local McDonald’s® franchises. Sponsorships like this are usually made at the local level with owner approval. We NEVER sponsored rodeos in our area. Ronald appearances were strictly overseen to ensure that he was only associated with family-friendly, non-confrontational events. It’s too bad the local owners didn’t think about the backlash of being associated an event that could be interpreted as polarizing. Based on my experience, that doesn’t sound like McDonald’s corporate philosophy.

  23. Brian
    Brian says:

    Interesting post. As a black man one thing that I’ve observed about McDonald’s is they seem to have a high percentage of African-Americans in their commercials. Given that most of their food is artery clogging, blood pressure raising empty calories and they seem to target the African-American community I’ve never been a big fan of McDonald’s.

  24. jafred
    jafred says:

    Even though I’m someone who’s grown up in western culture, I don’t personally care for rodeos. The sport doesn’t appeal to me. There is definitely a large majority of my area that it does appeal to, though, and that’s why traditional rodeos are so popular here. But how does this sport reach people like me who don’t care for it in the first place? Add a show in the middle.

    Reading about checking facts from @mattsingley, McDonald’s is nothing but a beneficiary from the show. I checked the website (which I had never heard about this show before today), there is nothing claiming McDonald’s as a sponsor, only that a guy that is dressed as Ronald is there. So why are they being crucified for putting money towards this?

    The more and more I read of this, the more I get offended. Not because of the actions at the rodeo, but because of the actions and the mob that’s ensued. How many people cracked and laughed at Bush jokes. How many people crack and laugh at fat jokes. Should we boycott the companies who sponsor timeslots around Carlos Mencia, who’s jokes can be labeled racist? I like this article: http://www.cabinet.com/cabinet/cabineteditorials/440378-308/great-strides-in-an-ongoing-trek.html . One quote: “… there were a few who said that equality wouldn’t really have arrived in baseball until someone became the first black manager to be fired, just as white managers were fired.”

    Merriam-Webster defines racism as: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. How does someone wearing a wig and cracking jokes along the lines of the issue of his alleged non-citizenship and his approval become racist. I have nothing against a man because of his skin color, in fact I have friends that are mexican, asian, black, etc. That doesn’t prevent me from laughing at a good Obama joke because of his policy, the frenzy of his disputed citizenship, as long as it doesn’t cross the line of saying he’s inferior because he’s black.

    Our society will never truly be rid of racism because it is filled with human beings. Our society will never be truly free, though, until we stop our over-sensitization of alleged discrimination, both religious and racial. True tolerance is not removing everything that can be perceived as “offensive” to other people. True tolerance is acknowledging the difference, whether disagree or agree, and move past it quietly. Insult and discrimination is different than dislike. Dislike is being approached by a Mormon missionary. Intolerance is making a federal case out of them knocking on your door politely.

    • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
      Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

      @Jafred The only connection between Obama and the Rastafarians is his skin color. It fits the Merriam-Webster definition of “racist” you have given above perfectly because Obama as a black Rasta is presented as a figure of fun. It actually would have been *less* racist to have a blacked up face because the black skin is truth, while the Rasta wig is a random connection based on race.

      As for McDonald’s, I don’t think they are to blame for what happened at this rodeo (which is definitely racist). But I think they definitely ought to know about it and I think they should be taking steps to ensure that their own brand properties, such as Ronald McDonald, are not used in such a way.

      • Proud Okie
        Proud Okie says:

        Well, thanks to your liberal “progressive city-loving” thinking “all animals should be free” BS, those lush pastures for animals to graze are becoming more & more depleted! Maybe you should spend some time on a farm or ranch to see how much animals are really cared for!

  25. liza
    liza says:

    As I was reading this I couldn’t help but think about the movie ‘Borat’. The rodeo he attended showcased what you saw-people cheered that we would kill all of the people in Iraq. The owner told him to not look like a muslim, and that they needed to hang all the gay people. I think it’s awful that people think it’s ok for kids to attend these and listen to the hateful ‘jokes’ and animal violence. I know the farmer says it’s ok for the animals, but really, they don’t like it. And the living conditions can’t be as great as a grazing bull in pasture.

    I would have felt the same way you did. We are a naive country, and events like these don’t help us much. (keep in mind the ‘clinging to guns & religion’ statement-rings true here).

  26. Naomi
    Naomi says:

    So you are right, Wisconsin IS a much happier place than New York City… for white Christians (preferably male).

  27. Carly
    Carly says:

    I tweeted.

    This makes me feel sad, that in this day and age, someone in a position of power (or holding the microphone) would have the indecency to be racist. And I’m shocked that no one said a word. I’m glad you posted about this, because your one voice is turning into a crowd.

  28. Belinda Gomez
    Belinda Gomez says:

    “The most special time, I think, was when two girls did tricks on one horse. The girls did not share a horse because the tricks are more difficult that way, it was more like the girls shared a horse to make you think they’d be available for a threesome after the show.”

    You know nothing about this, do you? But you’ve got a great post that makes you feel superior and makes your readers feel like they’re doing something.

  29. Belinda Gomez
    Belinda Gomez says:

    So where’s the racist part?

    “Then, out of nowhere, the clown brought out a wig, that had dreadlocks, and he put on a Rastafarian hat, and he started pretending that he was Barack Obama. He said, “I feel so presidential.” And he made jokes about whether Obama is a US citizen.”

    If he’d worn a red wig, and pretended to be Conan, would it still be racism?

    • Carol G
      Carol G says:

      Well – that’s a fascinating point – sort of. I mean, at one time the Irish were the new lowly immigrants. At this point, we don’t think of them as being that vulnerable as a group. Maybe some Irish people reading this can speak up on this point?
      But on hair: Conan O’Brian really does have a remarkable, full head of red hair. So a red wig would make comedic sense. And he does make fun of it, himself. So, IMO, not as strong an argument for racism with your red Conan wig example. Maybe you can suggest to the rodeo that they do some Conan/Leno material. Very timely!

  30. keyholeelf
    keyholeelf says:

    Penelope,
    I’ve read your blog for a long time – Shhh, I read it in secret because my wife doesn’t like your sexuality and you just plain piss her off – but this is the first time I have ever been moved to comment. I rarely disagree with you even though I tend to lean to the right (life member of the NRA). Just to let everybody know I live in Georgia.

    I *felt* you were biased before the rodeo even started, and because of that you would have never given them a positive review.

    Here’s the thing that moved me to comment. NOT standing for the flag. I’m a Vet and I always stand for the flag. I try to live by my core values. Those core values tell me to always stand for the flag and the America it represents. I wrap myself in that symbol because I protected “Freedom of Religion” and I protected your “Freedom of Speech”. I believe in it’s symbolism.

    My core value tells me to stand for the flag, and not react to every idiot with a microphone. Penelope, you should have stood for the flag and then thrown a beer bottle at the announcer.

    In my mind the symbolism of the flag is above or beyond the event it is being waved at. The flag represents America as a whole and its triumphs, it is not mean and small, it does not represent the differences in our religions, but protects those differences. It does not represent racism but our progress over it.

    I would stand for the flag even if I was at a left wing rally for Obama and PETA <– you can insert whatever you want here. I would stand for the flag every time no matter what, and I would be ashamed because I attended an event that was offensive to me.

    So next time any of you are feeling all self-righteous, make sure what it is your feelings are based on. The flag or an idiot who has a microphone.

    Maybe one more thing. I have a hard time wrapping my head around you complaining about someone being sexually overt. Maybe the girls were or were not, but I felt it was hypocritical of you.

    Keep up the great work, you are a great writer.

    • Jeremiah
      Jeremiah says:

      I’m sure the announcer saying “rise in the name of Jesus” has more to do with why Penelope didn’t stand; not because she hated the rodeo. Penelope is Jewish.

      • a farmer
        a farmer says:

        Jeremiah, did you miss Keyholeelf’s point? He’s saying Penelope should have stood even though she was Jewish, because that’s what the flag stands for “freedom of religion.”

        Just because the announcer was confused on what the flag stands for, doesn’t mean everyone else should be.

        I laughed at “throwing a beer bottle at him.” Or maybe Penelope should have at least hollered something to effect that our flag stands for the Jews as well.

        Penelope, as for family values, how do you explain what you write to your kids? You use sex as your biggest marketing tool, right up there with brazenness. I don’t see any difference.

        If your kids don’t read your blog now, how long do you think that will last? You’re a naive parent if you think much longer.

    • Noah
      Noah says:

      Part of that freedom you said you fought for includes the choice not to stand for a flag. The Constitution>dyed fabric.

  31. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    This is one of my favorite posts by you, and it’s so fitting for MLK Day. Bravo to you – and the farmer – for setting an example for your kids AND for not being afraid to stand up for your rights, by not standing for the flag. It’s disingenuous to wrap religious beliefs into the idea of patriotism, and then criticize people for failing to be patriotic, when what really happened is that they were practicing freedom granted by the flag (symbolically) to not be compelled to live by the religious values of others. This is particularly important when religion is being used to promote bigotry. I can’t *believe* they would pull that racism crap about Obama in Madison.

  32. plainspoken
    plainspoken says:

    The announcer’s joke about girlfriends & wives was funny.

    And I really found it ironic that you were suddenly concerned about family values.

    Right before your gutter mind speculates that there was some hidden erotic significance behind the placement of 2 female performers on the horse.

    With respect to the clown, if the rodeo had been 2 years ago and he had made some off-hand remarks about George Bush or Dick Cheney, you libs would’ve been on your feet applauding.

    Finally, the doctors/guns remark is quite timely and lots of people feel the same way. How would you expect the crowd at a rodeo to react ?

    I feel sorry for your kids. And the ‘farmer’.

    • Noah
      Noah says:

      Good use of “libs” there, glad you’re able to avoid the stereotyping the offensive rodeo utilized.

      And as far the nonsensical gun/doctor argument, let’s do a little thought experiment. How many deaths would be prevented if there were no guns? How many deaths would be prevented if there were no doctors? I’ll help you out: Doctors save lives, guns take them.

  33. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    One of my favourite quotes of all time:

    “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”
    -Eric Hoffer

    • keyholeelf
      keyholeelf says:

      This quote is bullshit. It doesn’t apply most of the time.
      Take Obama himself as an example. I’m sure he thinks of himself as an excellent person, and I’m sure he clams excellence for his nation, his religion, and any other cause her cares to follow.

  34. john b
    john b says:

    To try to find a place where everyone thinks the way you do is not sensible. I wouldn’t want to live where my thoughts were always the correct ones. I have been wrong before, have you?
    Are you so sure you want so much similarity of the masses? Do you think it is possible? You lived in New York, a huge mixing pot of people and ideas, did you come across people of diverse ideas there? Did you agree with everybody?
    Racism is prevalent throughout the world. You will not solve the problem with twitter.
    Educate you children. Try to educate the farmer. You can try to educate your followers, but I suspect they fall into two categories, those that believe what you think is correct already, and those that believe your wrong regardless of what you write.
    giggity,
    jb

  35. Paula
    Paula says:

    You are one stupid Bit__. You have about as much class as your assHole.Are you so jealous you have to put down others with your sick views. I feel sorry for your kids for they will be the ones that suffer over your stupity.
    You are a zero person. you nees a reality check and I wish I could give you one,but like most people like you they have to hide behind a computor screen

    • Margaret
      Margaret says:

      I’m not taking sides here, Paula, but if you’re going to comment on what you perceive to be a lack of class, don’t you think you should show some yourself? Using vulgar language and calling someone a zero is not really classy. Sorry.

  36. Nick
    Nick says:

    Don’t worry, none of those people at that event were actually from Madison. They were all F150’ed in from Janesville.

  37. Jeremiah
    Jeremiah says:

    I’m sure many has already said this…but I’m sure that McDonalds has no idea what actually takes place during the rodeo – at leat I hope they don’t.

    I did retweet your tweet.

  38. Julie
    Julie says:

    I don’t tweet, but I updated my facebook status with your message. Thank you for sharing this post, especially on today of all days.

  39. Sara
    Sara says:

    I am no rodeo fanatic – but I have seen some trick ponies – your comments about the women were uncalled for. Frankly it makes me question your judgement on the rest of the incident.

  40. former_CO
    former_CO says:

    Wow… I got dragged to a lot of rodeos and horse events when I lived in Northern CO and I NEVER saw anything like this. Wow. Wow. I would have gotten up and walked out. My husband loves horses and I’ve been to a lot of events in CO / WY and I have never seen anything like that. Sure, it’s kind of folksy, and I was uncomfortable about the animals at the rodeo ( I do believe it harms them), and the events were also very ‘white’ overall. But the announcers were very homey and populist, and it was “family entertainment” if they still use that word. No politics! More like traditional stories and a few tear-jerkers, and just talking like you’d find on regular mainstream radio. And the female rodeo performers were feminine but fully dressed, it was mostly the same as the men just tighter jeans maybe and more rhinestones.

    I never thought I would be defending rodeos (lol!) but I just wanted to say I can’t believe this is representative. And you should complain.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      I’m sad to say that the rodeos I’ve been to (as far South as Texas, and as far North as Saskatchewan) always have some political rhetoric.

      I repeatedly try to do the ‘when in Rome’ thing, but I always come away feeling similar to Penelope. The riders’ skills are noteworthy, but the culture makes my skin crawl.

      • former_CO
        former_CO says:

        Maybe it’s still a regional thing somehow? I don’t know, I’ve seen a lot of shows in CO and neighboring areas and I just can’t imagine. I asked an old friend of mine with rodeo riders in his family and he said this sounded unusual as well. I mean, there’s still a difference between a few gently-right-leaning jokes, and openly mocking the President. I mean wow. I believe Penelope’s story but it’s a shame this was her first experience, these types of events can really be a classic kind of Americana and it’s shame that she probably won’t want to try again after this.

  41. Donnie
    Donnie says:

    First of all ma’am, you strike me as someone who goes to a function looking for something negative to bring to your platform. Second of all know your facts. The announcer said “In Jesus name we pray, Amen. Now please stand for the National Anthem.” This event that you have degraded from get to go is not only a part of our american heritage, but also established to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Foundation. From the filth in your mind that truly shows me who you are, you took something very patriotic and turned it into something trashy. The girls that you have degraded are from a team called The All American Cowgirl Chicks, who dedicate their time and their lives for the betterment of others, human and animal. Intelligent people research their facts before writing stories that show their true ignorance. Please go to http://www.cowgirlchicks.com and research the group you degrade.
    The rodeo company and group of people that produce the event have spent many years raising money for many different foundations. For a person such as you to try to build such a negative from a very great positive thing shows me the vast difference in a person who has nothing to look forward to in their life and those trying to give others something to look forward to in life. You are a disappointment as an American and a Christian or God believing person. It is so much easier to find something positive in this world then it is for someone like you that looks for only the negative. Find another genre to pick on.
    Donnie Smith

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      “You are a disappointment as an American and a Christian or God believing person.”

      Being American (or Canadian or Swedish or Indian, etc.) is not synonymous with being Christian.

    • JR
      JR says:

      “In Jesus name we pray, Amen. Now please stand for the National Anthem.”

      versus

      “Everyone please rise in the name of Jesus and sing the Star Spangled Banner.”

      I suspected P’s quote was inaccurate. That is a significant distortion, which casts doubt on her entire tale.

      • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
        Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

        @Penelope Can you please clarify this? It is a significant difference because the prayer ends with “amen” and the national anthem is then a separate thing. I don’t see why they needed the public Christian prayer anyway but if the “amen” came before the anthem, then the religion part was over before they got to the anthem. Conflating the anthem and religion is problematic but is that what happened or is it possible you had your wires crossed?

        I’m still appalled by the clown Rasta act and will be letting McDonald’s know about this, but in the name of transparency, I think you should answer this question and also make a note in the post on this and the sponsorship point.

      • Michellee
        Michellee says:

        Donnie is for real. I have been to many rodeos that this announcer has work for since my daughter is a member of this team. His payer always ends the same way. I even have video tapes of his payers since my daughter is down on the arena floor about to perform as soon as the National Anthem is over.
        Penelope’s Blog is a sad distorted parody of the truth that is hurting real every day people.

    • From Wisconsin
      From Wisconsin says:

      I checked your cowgirlchicks link. I have to say, the women there are wearing outfits that cover a lot more skin than I imagined from reading Penelope’s post.

  42. Pamela
    Pamela says:

    I love your blog and I particularly loved your post today. I have to admit I’m not sure I would have had the guts to do what you did let alone blog about it. I read your post out loud to my eldest daughter who is a recent graduate and about to look for not just a job, but a career. You are absolutely, 100% right. Every penny we spend, every word we write, is power.

  43. polly
    polly says:

    hi penelope, i tried to send you this message via twitter but it was beyond my skill level:

    @penelope trunk: we tweeted your message! i just tweeted my first tweet and it was YOUR tweet not mine! how tweet it is!

    your blog is wonderful.
    thanks, polly

    ps: i grew up in evanston, hurrah for the north shore!

  44. MMorehead
    MMorehead says:

    All Star Rodeo Challenge was not sponsored by McDonalds at this event, All Star Rodeo Challenge was raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charity through bandana sales at our Cowboys for Kids Pre Show of which 100% of proceeds went to the Charity. Our cowboys and personnel went to local hospitals to visit sick children and brighten their day for no financial gain. In fact we raised over $15,000 for the Charity last year. In 2008 we worked with the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation and raised over $150,000 for women in Wisconsin for treatment of breast cancer, not research but to help local women without the financial ability to take care of themselves or pay their bills during treatment. We as an organization always try to work with a charity in each market to give back to the community – we actually do socially responsible things not talk about them.

    We believe in God and try to live the according to his word and are proud of it, we are proud to be Americans and are proud of our flag and believe we should stand with respect for our flag and teach our families the same respect. I love and respect my husband who is a farmer, and love and respect those who through their hard work, calluses and sweat put food on the table as we feed the WORLD. Your Farmer husband also deserves much more respect than you give him. I would never disrespect my husband in the name of a story.

    Racism is an expression of hatred to someone of another color. I am blond and can still laugh at a blond joke. I think calling someone a Redneck is just as racist and negative. Degrading Midwesterners in agricultural communities, is that a form of racism if you are creating your own definition?

    We look at female trick riders also with great respect for their athleticism and find it repulsive that you could twist that into some disgusting sexual remark. Gymnasts, swimmers, dancers, Dancing with the stars, women with great talent that dress in a costume, I respect them for their talents, not turn them into something dirty, based on the costumes or clothing they wear.

    We also believe in the First Amendment and freedom of speech. We believe you have a right to your opinion and respect it, but also believe it is just that, your opinion and that does not make it true. The quote “stand in the name of Jesus” demonstrates your irresponsible journalism and again discredits your negative account because we also PRAY and the invocation ended In Jesus’s name Amen a standard way many end a prayer which was followed by Please stand for the National Anthem.

    It is so disappointing that you could disrespect so many people from McDonalds, farmers and present it as facts. And then asked others to also be just as irresponsible and join your crusade. And you are worried about the negative impact our event has on your children, or a joke… You are their role model that just irresponsibly misrepresented several people and a large corporation to thousands of people with no regard for truth. My parents taught us the golden rule, do unto others as you would want them to do to you and that would not include any of the things that you have blogged or tweeted in the name of racism.

    • Ariella
      Ariella says:

      “We believe in God and try to live the according to his word and are proud of it . . .”

      MMorehead,

      Your comment is scathing, but the point of Penelope’s post seems to have gone straight over your head. Not everyone in America is Christian! Not everyone in America believes in God! Not even everyone in Wisconsin is Christian or believes in God. And it’s Penelope’s right to be put off by your overt religious display.

      Furthermore, quit the tired rhetoric that believing in God makes you a “real American.” Just because she didn’t stand for the flag doesn’t mean she’s not respectful of America OR the flag. I support our troops, I am an American, I live in Wisconsin, and I wouldn’t have stood for the flag at that rodeo either. The overt religiosity would have made me uncomfortable because, whether you intended to or not, you conflated God with country. Sorry lady, just because Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin believe that the founding fathers were Christians and that they wanted prayer in schools and all that other jazz doesn’t make it actually true.

      • From Wisconsin
        From Wisconsin says:

        I think MMorehead’s comments are well written and justifiable. She’s explaining the All Star Rodeo Challenge organization, which, by the way, has a right to be Christian and express that viewpoint. Because, after all, that is what the American flag stands for, right?

        Isn’t that what the big hullabaloo is nowadays? That we can express our faith, no matter what it is?

        If I attend an event sponsored by the Muslim Charities Accreditation Program, should I be offended when they fail to acknowledge my belief? Of course not. Because they have that right.

        Christians have that right too.

  45. capella
    capella says:

    If this were my story, it would be easy for me to find a way to blame the farmer for the upsetting aspects of this. I have had so many arguments in relationships that are based on the man not disagreeing (fervently enough) with something I find objectionable. But so much of one’s gut reactions to things is a result of personal history and social assumptions, and even things that feel obviously wrong to you might look very different to him – or just might not look like anything at all. We are all predisposed to be blind to the preconceptions we grew up with, in our cities or our families. And, at least in my life, every relationship is a culture shock.

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