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LETTER: "Redneck" organizer sad Shelburne event caused controversy 


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I have remained silent concerning the topic of the “Redneck” controversy. I feel that now that the event is over it is time I shared my thoughts.

My name is Banjo Bubba. I hosted and sponsored this fun event. I am saddened that an event that was intended to be family fun has caused this much fuss.

As I have read and heard the opinions of both sides of this issue, I feel that both sides have displayed the attitude that has been portrayed as wrong and discriminatory. In my wildest dreams I never thought that dressing in camo or quacking like a duck could ever be misconstrued to be deemed racist.

As a local entertainer I embrace the concept of a “hillbilly”. It is part of my stage persona and has never represented bigotry, hatred or racism. I see this issue has been used by a minority of people irregardless of race to seek five minutes of fame. Unfortunately,  since this issue has been blown out of proportion, what those who oppose this event wanted to prevent has actually happened.

This event and ensuing controversy has drawn unwanted and unnecessary attention to our town. Those who participated last year did so without any thought of discrimination toward anyone. Those who have participated did so to have some clean fun. Maybe instead of tearing each other down and displaying the Redneck attitude from years gone by and from our neighbors to the south, we should try building each other up. The Bible tells us to love our neighbor.

What this issue has done is turn our quiet, little town into a sea of aggression and animosity. It never was nor ever will be my intention as the coordinator and promoter of this event to make enemies out of neighbors nor adversaries out of friends. There are too many positive things in our town to dwell on and support and promote to make so much out of so little.

It is my regret that a few people can stand on the soapbox and promote their opinion to the detriment of the spirit of Founders Days.

Let’s embrace the positive and build a community that is based on love for our neighbor before our love for ourselves.

Let’s build a community based on respect for each other and the rights of each other to express our opinion without being labeled something that is both unkind and unfair.

I have spent countless hours volunteering in a town that I do not live in. I have done so because I love this town and all of its citizenry. I had considered ceasing all of my volunteering.

 However, upon deep reflection I feel that for me to stop doing what I have been doing would only make a bad situation worse. The long-term effect of me stopping would mean one less person to step up and carry some of the load that so few are carrying now. Maybe from this situation others will come forward to lend their support and energy to make our town a better place to live and a better place to visit.

Bubbamania is alive and well in Shelburne and I will continue to be the first one to volunteer to help whenever and wherever my time and energy will allow.

George Thorburne

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