POLK CO., TN (WCMH)–A Tennessee politician’s campaign sign is stirring up controversy.
It reads “Make America White Again,” and was hoisted by Rick Tyler, an independent candidate in the race for Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district.
Tyler told WRCB-TV that he has no hatred in his heart for “people of color.” He said the sign’s message is that the USA should go back to a “1960s,’ Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Leave it to Beaver’ time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration.”
Some residents have called and written to the news station, saying the signs do not reflect the feelings of the entire county and that they want them down.
“I respect their right to have an opinion,” Tyler said. “I believe the majority of the people in the county like it.”
WCRB asked Tyler if he feared for his safety or backlash from the campaign sign.
“I don’t fear it,” he said. “I welcome it, and I will respond with the application of truth.”
Tyler posted a second sign on Highway 64 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” quote written over a White House surrounded by Confederate Flags.
The sign was taken down less than 12 hours after being put up–but Tyler didn’t do it.
The owner of the billboard will not confirm if or why his company removed the signage. Tyler told WCRB that he wants it to be put back up. He said he paid for the signs to be there until after the November election.
“If i could I’d have hundreds of these billboards up across the 3rd District,” he said.
Party officials and elected officials are speaking out against the signs.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes 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.”
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