Right Wing A-Holes Threaten Veteran With Violence Until She Quits 4th Of July Parade
Haley Carter, a former professional soccer player and Marine who served several tours in Iraq who is also the chair of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Commission Against Gun Violence, was supposed to be the grand marshal of the Friendswood, Texas 4th of July parade. She stepped down, however, this week, after she and her family were threatened with violence by supporters of her fellow Friendswood resident, former RV salesman and current far-right radio host Jesse Kelly. You may remember Kelly from his failed run to represent Arizona in Congress despite the fervent support of neo-Nazis around the country, or the time he mused on how much he would like to murder some liberals for The Federalist.
Earlier this week, Kelly tweeted "Communists are in blood red areas too. Friendswood, TX is a blood red city. They just chose Haley Carter to be Grand Marshal of the July 4th Parade. She’s a gun-grabber. She’s into drag. She’s into trans activism," along with a screenshot of a tweet from Carter about the necessity of prioritizing children's safety over guns and a picture of her son getting excited about going to see RuPaul's Drag Race Live.
That, apparently, was all that was needed to mobilize his following to send Carter thousands of violent threats so horrific that she decided to just step down rather than risk her family's safety.
After she stepped down, Mayor Turner released a statement about how disappointed he was that Carter was stepping down due to threats, calling her an "American hero" and saying "It is no wonder that her hometown of Friendswood chose to honor her in their Fourth of July parade. Haley embodies everything the uniquely American holiday represents. Freedom. Independence. Love of country. In other words, the perfect Fourth of July grand marshal."
She does seem pretty damned impressive. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Carter served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving multiple tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When she returned home in 2013 and played as a reserve goalkeeper for the Dash. She also served as assistant coach for teams at Huston–Tillotson University, Sam Houston State University and the University of Houston. She was also assistant coach to the Afghanistan national team from 2016 to 2018 and currently serves as goalkeeper coach for Antigua and Barbuda women's national football team.
In her time coaching the Afghan women's team, Carter was instrumental in speaking out about institutional sexual abuse from the team's male owners. That outcry led to the eventual lifetime ban of team owner Kerim Kerramudin from FIFA play. Carter, in her role as chair of Turner's Commission Against Gun Violence, most recently called for immediate action on gun reform from state leaders in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde.
In a response to another of Mayor Turner's tweets about Carter stepping down, Kelly wrote "Haley Carter will no longer be the Grand Marshal of the Friendswood 4th of July parade. If you’re looking for someone to blame, Mayor, you should know that it’s me who did this. I stopped your communist friend from representing a great community. Welcome to The New Right."
Weird how it is literally no different from The Old Right. It's hard to see how Kelly considers it a victory to threaten someone with violence until they do what he says. Kelly didn't win people over to his side, he just scared a person with a young kid they need to protect.
This whole incident is just deeply troubling and sad and sickening — as many Friendswood residents agreed on a Facebook post about Carter stepping down.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse