Basket Of Billboardables
June 25th, 2018 – Quicker than you can say ‘Remember the Alamo,’ a twister of controversy has blown up around the tiny town of Vega, Texas. A billboard off Interstate 40, in the northwest panhandle 30 miles outside Amarillo, enjoyed a quick spin through the social media news cycle over the last 24 hours. Purchased by an unnamed individual, the billboard carried a simple message for any travellers of a liberal persuasion: keep driving.
Advising liberal motorists to continue along the highway until they crossed the state line out of Texas, the stunt comes at a time when issues of immigration, the political system, and the meaning of democracy dominate the national conversation.
Debate over the billboard broke down along partisan lines in the overwhelmingly red state. Conservatives have lauded the sign’s message of intolerance for people who think differently from they do while liberals can be heard collectively smacking their heads in an increasingly familiar fugue of shame, frustration and bewilderment.
To anyone in the Vega, Texas area…
If you happen to come across this billboard along I-40; and, suddenly feel the need to cause it serious and grievous damage…
Dont worry; I won’t tattle!!! https://t.co/7WuZ6sbJbV
— HeathenChilde (@PaganSoul366) June 20, 2018
Just outside Vega, Texas. LOVE IT!! pic.twitter.com/I99XICaSYw
— Joe Morris (@Mojoe4Joe) June 20, 2018
This billboard has an interesting take on Texas hospitality.https://t.co/16YyISrsNX
— WTHR.com (@WTHRcom) June 19, 2018
After images of the billboard began trending on social media, the sign’s owner, Randy Burkett, decided to act, telling a McClatchy news reporter:
“I was shocked that it traveled that fast. I believe in free speech, but this country is divided enough as it is. I’ve spoken with the client, and he’s agreed that it should come down. We’ll be reimbursing him.”
According to the same report, the increased volume of online traffic related to the billboard actually forced the website used by Burkett’s advertising company to shut down temporarily.
Kyle Mccallie, the commuter who was the first to post an image of the billboard to his social media page, encountered the sign on the way from his nearby hometown of Fritch, Texas. Mccallie was flummoxed by the media attention surrounding the billboard saying:
“I am riding the TRUMP TRAIN all the way across the great country of the USA…The reactions have been crazy. I had no intentions of it getting like this, blowing up in a few hours. All kinds of hate mail and all I did was take a picture.”