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An independent candidate running for Congress in Tennessee has ignited a firestorm with controversial billboards, including one that promises to “Make America White Again.”

The racist message is a spinoff of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

But Rick Tyler, a restaurant owner running for the Third Congressional District seat in the northeastern part of the state, which includes the city of Chattanooga, insists he has no hatred toward “people of color.”

Instead, the sign is a call for the nation to go back to a “‘Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, Mayberry’ America of old,” he said in a June 23 Facebook post. “It was an America where doors were left unlocked, violent crime was a mere fraction of today’s rate of occurrence, there were no carjackings, home invasions, Islamic Mosques or radical Jihadist sleeper cells.”

On his campaign website, he further explains the motive behind his billboard, which was posted alongside Highway 411 in Polk County.

“The ‘Make America White Again’ billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation,” he wrote. “As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America’s immigration law in the 1960’s has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes…the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny…the White American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.”

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Tyler also posted another billboard along Highway 64 depicting the White House ringed by Confederate Flags and headlined by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” quote.

According to NBC affiliate WRCB-TV, both billboards were removed this week. Tyler himself has experienced a severe backlash including death threats, he told the television station. He has also received criticism from other conservatives, including Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes, who said in a statement: “There’s no room for this type of hateful display in our political discourse. Racism should be rejected in all its heinous forms in the Third Congressional District and around the country.”

In a statement Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, the Third District’s incumbent, said, “I totally and unequivocally condemn the billboard and Mr. Tyler’s message and will vigorously fight any form of racism in the Third District of Tennessee or anywhere else in the nation.”

 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO

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