Plenty of folks on both sides of the presidential election posted vehement comments on social media. Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon went one step further by starting a GoFundMe campaign for bus tickets to send anti-Trump celebrities to Tijuana.
Among celebrities who reportedly had threatened to leave the country if Donald Trump won were Miley Cyrus, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Schumer, Bryan Cranston, Cher and Chelsea Handler.
Here’s an excerpt from Kennon’s Facebook post on Nov. 9: “Out of compassion and empathy, I have created a GoFundMe campaign entitled “Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit You” to provide bus tickets to Tijuana, Mexico for all those celebrities, athletes, and other high-minded elitists who are traumatized by the new Trump era. Let us not forget those who promised to leave the country if Trump won.”
The mayor set the fundraising goal at $10 million. As of Monday afternoon, 68 donors had pledged $1,145.
Kennon promises that any money raised and not used for bus tickets will be donated to charity, and he will account for every dollar.
“I am serious in that I used humor to try to make a point,” Kennon said. “Do I believe any celebrity or athlete is going to come to us for bus ticket? No.”
His point, he said, is if celebrities are going to make millions of dollars from the American system for which members of the military sacrificed their lives, they should show appreciation for that system and those who defend it.
Also, like it or not, they are role models setting a bad example for children, he said. “The example they are setting by threatening to take their ball and run home if they don’t get their way, or in this case, take their money and leave, is not what I’m teaching my children and not what I bet most people want their children to learn through a role model.”
Reactions have been mixed. Some people loved the idea and said so. Others expressed their displeasure in language unsuitable for a family newspaper. The debate was lively both on Facebook and on the GoFundMe page.
As the mayor of a beach town dependent on tourism, Kennon said he isn’t worried about his views turning potential visitors away from Orange Beach. “First off, this is not Republican or Democrat. This is about anybody, I don’t care if they’re Republican or Democrat, denigrating our country and what made it great out of their own selfish wants and needs. That’s what this is about.”
Secondly, Kennon said, previous controversial stands that he said many would consider conservative, such as being against an appearance by the band Widespread Panic or the proliferation of vulgarities on T-shirts, have not affected tourism. “Every year our numbers go up.” From a business perspective, Kennon said, he’s building a family values brand in Orange Beach.