Obama effigy removed near Grand Junction | VailDaily.com

Obama effigy removed near Grand Junction

Marija B. Vadermvader@gjfreepress.comGrand Junction, CO Colorado
Marija B. Vader/Free PressAn effigy of Barack Obama walking the plank while a pirate holds a gun to his back, along with a spray-painted sign reading Obama for president of Afghanistan, appears outside the home of Mike and Cheryl Barnes, 955 U.S. Highway 6 & 50 west of Grand Junction. After the Grand Junction Free Press contacted the Barneses, they removed the sign and the effigy.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado A white skeleton pirate held a gun to an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who appeared to have just walked off the plank of a pirate ship in decorations outside the home of Mike and Cheryl Barnes, 955 U.S. Highway 6&50 west of Grand Junction, Colorado.The Obama effigy was made from a white plastic skeleton, painted dark brown, with large ears and eyes and black hair glued in place. He wore suit pants, a white shirt and a tie.And on the ship was a sign, Obama for president of Afghanistan.After the Grand Junction Free Press asked the Barneses about the display Thursday afternoon, they ate supper and talked about the decorations, which were only feet from the highway. And then they removed the Obama effigy and sign.We decided wed just take it down. We dont want to cause any trouble with anyone, said Mike Barnes.When shown pictures of the display Thursday, Mary Beth Pyle, chair of the Mesa County Democratic Party, wasnt impressed.I just have no words to describe the total revulsion I have … It is just so disgusting, Pyle said.Mesa County Republican Party Chair Gary Roahrig echoed those sentiments, saying, Its beyond words.This type of behavior is unconscionable, Roahrig continued. This is 2008. I dont know what inspires people to do things of this nature, but its entirely inappropriate.According to voter registration records, Cheryl Barnes is a Republican, and Mike Barnes is unaffiliated.The Barnes couple put a lot of work into the display, which they said was intended as a simple Halloween decoration. The couple got the Afghanistan allusion from Republican party bumper stickers, said Cheryl Barnes.Do they think hes Muslim?I dont know … Id just as soon keep that to ourselves, Cheryl Barnes said.As to the color of Obamas skin, I dont care what race he is. His race makes no difference, Cheryl Barnes said. I dont like his policies, the things hes voted for.Number one, hes anti-gun, and number two, hes pro-choice. Theres several things I dont like about him. His race has absolutely nothing to do with it, she said.The only comments people have offered were positive, Mike Barnes said.They just thought they (the decorations) were funny, he said.Not the woman who alerted the Free Press.I thought it was pretty disgusting, said the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of negative reprisal. It looked like a black man being hung.Signs expressing political leanings are common, she said, but Ive just not seen anything as nasty as this one. I attribute it to racism. Its not right.The woman said Thursday she hadnt yet voted, and she was still undecided as to her presidential pick. This display hadnt lured her either way.I dont think one person doing something stupid would persuade me, she said. We have more important things to consider, the economy, the war.Not just some dope out there on the farm.Mike Barnes said he and his wife discussed the issue over supper Thursday night, after the Free Press asked them about it.Obviously its going to cause controversy, and that was not the intended effect, Mike Barnes said.Its just fun. Its just a pirate ship thing.The Barneses live in farm and ranch country west of Mack. Mesa County is heavily Republican, as evidenced by the many McCain/Palin signs in Grand Junction, the county seat, and along the rural routes of the county.The display was slightly west of Mack, 9.5 miles east of the Colorado-Utah state line.

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